No. 8 Sports Story of the Year: Miners survived Region 7 to make historic title runEditor’s Note: The Dickinson Press’ Top 10 sports stories of 2012 countdown continues through Sunday, Dec. 30. The road to a Class B state title wasn’t easy. Well, neither was the road the Region 7 championship for the Beulah boys basketball team.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson Press’ Top 10 sports stories of 2012 countdown continues through Sunday, Dec. 30.
The road to a Class B state title wasn’t easy. Well, neither was the road the Region 7 championship for the Beulah boys basketball team.
The Miners knocked off three undefeated teams at the Class B state tournament en route to a state champion is The Dickinson Press’ No. 8 sports story of 2012.
Beulah punched its ticket to the state tournament after a strong start to hold off Dickinson Trinity 58-54 in the Region 7 title.
“It’s always our game plan to come out and get a good start,” Beulah senior Casey Duppong said in a Press article on Feb. 24. “We always play better if we come out with a good start.”
The journey was far from over though.
Beulah had a first-round date at state with Region 1 champion Central Cass. It was the first of three appearances against an undefeated team.
Having won arguably the most difficult region tournament in Class B boys basketball, the Miners used their wave of momentum handling the Squirrels with ease 65-48. However, the next two wins wouldn’t come with as much ease.
“At times, we’ve been a good defensive team this year,” Beulah coach Jeremy Brandt said in a Forum Communications article on March 2. “This was one of our best games. I don’t think we’ve seen a quick, explosive team before like they are.”
Next on the docket was undefeated Berthold. After the first half, the Miners hopes of a state championship looked grim. Berthold shoved Beulah in a 15-point, 27-12, deficit.
The Miners needed a strong second-half performance from Duppong, Trevor Zacher, Jesse Hettich and Cody Nelson. Beulah’s big four combined for 48 points for a 54-50 overtime win against the Bombers.
“I told the guys at halftime we’ve got to put up a fight,” Beulah coach Jeremy Brandt said in a Forum Communications article on March 3. “They attacked us in the first half. We didn’t have an answer.
“We wanted to get their lead to single digits by the fourth quarter. Then, you never know.”
Beulah’s next opponent in the state championship was top-ranked and defending state champion North Star. The Miners and Bearcats met earlier in that season with North Star putting together a 74-49 beatdown on Dec. 22, 2011.
The previous loss didn’t blemish the Miners’ hopes. Beulah’s 51-49 win came down to a last-second layup from Hettich and a final shot block from Zacher on North Star all-state guard Jacob Hagler, who led the team during the regular season with 29 points per game. In conjunction for winning its first state championship, Beulah ended North Star’s 53-game win streak.
“Everybody in the crowd knew who’d get that shot,” Brandt said in a Forum Communications article on March 4. “Our kids did, too. They did a nice job of coming in on him, and that was a huge block by Trevor.”
The Miners were dancing on the Alerus Center court and the team looks primed to make a run at repeating this season. Beulah returns four starters and a handful of players with varsity experience.
Will this season be as exciting as last season? All I know is the Miners will always keep things interesting.
McGregor is a sports reporter for The Dickinson Press. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at SirRoyal.