No. 3 Trinity runs away from No. 4 Oak Grove, 71-55BISMARCK — A midseason matchup between two top-five basketball teams is a big deal, unless one team turns it into a not-so-big deal.
By: Scooter Pursley, Special to Forum News Service
BISMARCK — A midseason matchup between two top-five basketball teams is a big deal, unless one team turns it into a not-so-big deal.
Third-ranked Dickinson Trinity took charge in the second quarter Saturday and cruised to an easy 71-55 win over No. 4 Fargo Oak Grove at the Shiloh Christian New Year’s Invitational.
Four Trinity players reached double figures, led by Jacob Volk’s 21-point, seven-rebound effort.
The Titans opened the tournament on Friday with a 75-38 win over previously unbeaten Minot Our Redeemer’s. They closed the weekend by scoring on 12 of their last 16 possessions to improve to 10-0 on the season.
According to the parties involved, Saturday’s game meant … nothing.
”It was just a fun, competitive game that didn’t really mean anything,” Volk said. “It wasn’t a region game, so it was just fun to come out and play.”
Oak Grove’s Jordan Funfar had fun early on. The senior guard had eight points in the first two minutes as the Grovers took an 8-0 lead. But he didn’t score another point.
Trinity stormed back behind Volk to tie the game at 17-17 after one period. Volk had 14 of his 21 points in the first half.
Oak Grove coach Kyle Card said his team’s fast start probably didn’t help.
”Much as it’s hard to believe, those three threes at the start of the game hurt us, because we started to settle for threes and not attack the basket,” Card said.
Oak Grove finished 8-for-23 from 3-point range and shot just 36 percent from the field.
Trinity, on the other hand, turned to its big guys inside and turned on the gas.
Jesse Kubik, a 6-foot-7 senior post, and 6-3 senior post Isiah Binstock took control for long stretches. Kubik finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds. He had six of the Titans’ 13 offensive rebounds. Binstock had 18 points and nine rebounds.
”The key going in was getting the ball inside and I thought our bigs played exceptionally well — Jesse and Isiah,” Trinity coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. “The balance we had was something we can build off of.
“We beat a good team. That’s what it means. We executed well.”
Trinity’s defense forced eight turnovers in the second quarter and the half ended with the Titans up 29-21.
“We stopped their transition game, which is their style of play,” Volk said. “We got them out of their comfort zone.”
By working from the inside out, Trinity shot 58 percent from the field and made 11 of 18 free throws.
Any chance the Grovers had to mount a comeback ended with a 12-4 Trinity run to open the third quarter.
“We got down early and kept our composure,” Grinsteinner said. “Once we got it even, we said, ‘let’s play.’”
Ben Gordon had three 3-pointers and 13 points for the Titans.
Tyler Christianson led Oak Grove with 10 points and six rebounds. He was the only Grover in double figures.
Card wasn’t fretting the 16-point loss.
“We like to come to Bismarck and play two really good teams and we did that,” Card said. “I don’t know if we played our best game and you have to give Trinity credit.”
Trinity 17 29 46 71
FOG 17 21 36 55
T: Jacob Volk 21, Isiah Binstock 18, Ben Gordon 13, Jesse Kubik 11, Jacob Good 6, Cody Heiser 2.
FOG: Tyler Christianson 10, Carter Kretchman 9, Jordan Funfar 8, Christian Adams 6, Tyler Berg 5, Bradley Conant 5, Isaac Olson 5, Nick Card 4, Alex Widmer 3.
3-pointers: T 4 (Gordon 3, Volk 1), FOG 8 (Funfar 2, Christianson 1, Olson 1, Conant 1, Kretchman 1, Berg 1). Free throws: T 11-18, FOG 7-12. Total fouls: T 16, FOG 20. Technical fouls: FOG, Card. Rebounds: T 35 (Kubik 11), FOG 27 (Christianson 6, Card 6). Assists: T 15 (Alex Binstock 4), FOG 9 (Kretchman 2, Widmer 2). Steals: T 9 (A. Binstock 3, Volk 3), FOG 10 (Conant 2, Widmer 2). Blocks: T 4 (Kubik 2), FOG 1 (OIson). Turnovers: T 21, FOG 21. Records: T 10-0, FOG 7-2.