Dickinson pushes No. 4 Bismarck High, falls short down the stretchFor the second time in 10 days, the Dickinson High girls basketball team made life hard on a ranked opponent.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
For the second time in 10 days, the Dickinson High girls basketball team made life hard on a ranked opponent.
A week ago it was No. 1-ranked Bismarck Century. Friday, it was No. 4 Bismarck High.
“It’s hard to lose the close ones,” Dickinson senior forward Ali Moody said. “It’s Bismarck and Century, two of the top teams in the state. Last year we would have been happy to lose by 20, but this year we’re in single digits. We’ve definitely seen a lot of improvement.”
Despite a game full of highs and lows for each team, the Demons scored six of the final eight points en route to a 61-55 win over Dickinson on Friday at DHS gymnasium.
“Our girls played hard and we did what we wanted to do,” Dickinson head coach Dan Pender said. “We just came up short, but I’m proud with the way our girls have been playing.”
Both head coaches pointed to solid defensive efforts on both sides, which caused each team to score in bunches and remain stagnant the rest of the way. With the solid defensive performances, each team had a more than enough turnovers as Dickinson committed 27 and Bismarck 24.
The Demons’ (8-2, 7-0 West) biggest lift in the second half came from Keisha Engelhardt, who scored 14 of her 18 points after halftime, and grabbed 11 rebounds.
However, the true nail in the coffin came from Ashlee Hilzendeger. She scored Bismarck’s final four points, including a pair of free throws in the final 10 seconds.
“It was a battle of who could maintain a little bit of consistency,” Bismarck head coach Dallas Hilzendeger said. “I don’t really think either team got to that point, but we were just hoping we’d end on a high note.”
Bismarck took a 27-25 lead into the second half after it led by as many as much as 12, 18-6, early on. The Midgets (2-5, 1-4 West) opened the game with a 6-0 run, but the Demons responded with 18 unanswered points. Regardless, Dickinson wasn’t one bit ashamed of its first-half performance.
“Coach Pender was really happy with us in the first half,” Moody said. “We were down more than 10 and we got it back within two. He said the first eight minutes are the most important.”
Moody, who led the Midgets with 19 points, six rebounds and three steals, contributed 10 points in the second half, while senior forward Rachel Schroeder added 13 points and six rebounds. Senior point guard Taylor Cooper supplied 12 points, five assists and four steals.
The Midgets opened up the second half on a 5-0 run to take a 30-27 lead.
After the brief surge, Engelhardt went to work. The junior forward supplied nine of the team’s next 14 points to grab a 41-33 lead.
Bismarck continued to maintain the eight-point lead, but the Midgets were always waiting in the wings to make the final outcome interesting. Dickinson got the game within two, 55-53, after junior guard Sydney Gangl drained a 3-pointer with 61 seconds remaining.
The Demons then looked up Engelhardt and Hilzendeger because senior post Naomi Rust had fouled out with less than two minutes to play. Rust finished with 12 points and five rebounds, while Hilzendeger added nine points and five steals.
“Keisha played well in the second half,” Dallas Hilzendeger said. “She even played well in the first half. Though she wasn’t scoring points, she was doing the little things right.”
Dickinson travels to Mandan at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. After playing close to the final minute with two of the top five teams in the state, the Midgets have a newfound confidence.
“We’re getting better every game and the girls are starting to see that we can get to that next level,” Pender said. “It’s a wonderful thing that the girls are starting to buy in to what we are doing.”
B: Keisha Engelhardt 18, Naomi Rust 12, Ashlee Hilzendeger 9, RyLee Meier 8, McKenzie Kiefer 6, MacKayla Feeney 5, Courtney Trolliey 3.
D: Ali Moody 19, Rachel Schroeder 13, Taylor Cooper 12, Sydney Gangl 8, Riley Cooper 2, Shelby Stoltz 1.
Halftime: B 27-25. 3-pointers: B 3 (Meier 1, Feeney 1, Kiefer 1), D 4 (Gangl 2, Moody 2). Free throws: B 12-18, D 15-28. Total fouls: B 25, D 16. Fouled out: B, Rust. Rebounds: B 37 (Engelhardt 11), D 40 (Gangl 6, Moody 6, Schroeder 6). Assists: B 13 (Trolliey 5), D 17 (Gangl 5, T. Cooper 5). Steals: B 18 (Hilzendeger 5), D 10 (T. Cooper 4). Blocks: B 0, D 1 (T. Cooper 1). Turnovers: B 24, D 27. Records: B 8-2 (7-0 West), D 2-5 (1-4 West).