High School Notebook: Region 4 teams eye spots at stateEight Region 4 wrestling teams will converge on Bowman Saturday to figure out who is heading to the Class B state tournament and who will be staying at home.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Eight Region 4 wrestling teams will converge on Bowman Saturday to figure out who is heading to the Class B state tournament and who will be staying at home.
Hettinger-Scranton, led by head coach Randy Burwick, has already qualified its team for the Class B state dual tournament after winning the regular season title. The Night Hawks, like the rest of the individuals and teams, look toward the Region 4 tournament that begins at 8 a.m. Saturday.
“The whole season is built up to this,” Burwick said. “This is what we’ve been working for all year long. We’re going to make sure our minds are in the right place and step into the regional tournament.”
Burwick, who achieved his 400th career dual win against Watford City on Jan. 24, said the weight has been lifted off for the team aspect, but now it’s time for the individuals.
“There are definitely things that we need to work on this week,” Burwick said. “We’re just going to focus on making sure our condition is where it needs to be and we’re going to concentrate on our strengths.
“You have to get yourself qualified individually now. We’ve done the work getting our team qualified, now we have to get individuals qualified.”
The Night Hawks have eight returning state qualifiers, including their two lone seniors Codi Tomac and Rodney Vanhoff.
Hettinger-Scranton’s biggest loss from last year’s team was the graduation of two-time state champion Sean Elkins, now a freshman starter at Dickinson State.
“We’re going to rely on our two seniors, Codi and Rodney,” Burwick said. “They’ve both have had stellar years so far and they’ve done a great job all year long. We’re going to rely on our seniors that have been through the battles. We’re going to keep the nerves to a minimum. That’s going to be a key to these young freshman and eighth-graders we have in the lineup.”
Other state qualifiers returning for Hettinger-Scranton include juniors Trevor Abrahamson, Christian Hughes, Denby Lueck, sophomores Kevin Sandgren, Chauncey Hughes and freshman Colby Steeke.
Killdeer, which qualified its dual team last season, were stung hard by graduation, when it lost eight seniors. The Cowboys’ lone state champion last season was River Voigt at 152 pounds. Logan Schaper was the state runner-up at 126.
The four Cowboys who returned with state tournament experience are junior David Dukart, sophomore Tanner Rohde and freshmen Derek Tabor and TJ Moore. However, Moore is out for the rest of the season after having knee surgery two weeks ago.
“It’s been kind of a rough start to the season,” Killdeer head coach Shane Olson said. “We have no seniors this year, but David has stepped up and is looking pretty good this year.”
The Cowboys have one junior, one sophomore, three freshmen, four eighth-graders and one seventh-grader. The team is going through growing pains, but Olson said they are fighting through some of those bumps and bruises.
“Region-wise, our only No. 1 seed is eighth-grader Daniel Arthur at 170 pounds,” he said. “We’re just looking to finish in the top four in region.”
DHS girls head out on a 3-game West Region road trip
The confidence is back for the Dickinson High girls basketball team.
After an 82-33 loss against No. 1-ranked Bismarck Century last Thursday, the Midgets responded the next day with a 69-67 overtime win against Bismarck St. Mary’s.
The added confidence is just what the Midgets needed as they get set to play three-straight West Region games, the first on the road against Williston at 5 p.m. Thursday.
“When you go on the road in the WDA, you’re down already,” Dickinson head coach Dan Pender said. “It’s tough to win on the road and you have to be mentally ready.”
This season Dickinson has suffered two 40-point plus losses. The first was on Jan. 25 against Mandan. However, the Midgets have responded with wins after the two lopsided losses.
Nonetheless, the Midgets have proved they can to go toe to toe with some of the best teams in the West. Dickinson nearly knocked off Century before losing in overtime, and then lost in the final seconds to No. 4-ranked Bismarck High — all in a span of 10 days.
“With the two lopsided losses, the girls are figuring out how important each possession is,” Pender said. “I think it’s just preparing us to be better in the end. You want to be playing your best basketball at the WDA tournament.”
Ali Moody, a senior post, leads Dickinson with 15.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Dickinson senior post Rachel Schroeder, who has an inside-out presence alongside Moody, averages 11.3 points per game.
The Midgets are averaging 54 points per game, but the team truly operates at full potential when senior guard Taylor Cooper is guiding the offense. Cooper is averaging 8.6 points, pulling down 6.3 rebounds and nabbing 2.9 steals per games.
“Taylor just plays,” Pender said. “It’s been nice to see her progress in last three years. Overall, her whole game has blossomed very well for us.”
New England girls finding success with young roster
On a roster of 14 players for the New England girls basketball team, the number of seniors fit on one hand.
The 10 non-seniors are a balanced group of three juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen.
Injuries, however, have made the young Tigers even thinner.
The Tigers have already lost their two starting point guards Jenna Ehlis, who suffered a season-ending injury in the team’s first District 13 game against Mott-Regent on Jan. 10, and senior Erin Volk dislocated her kneecap during a district game against Bowman County on Jan. 24.
Junior Hannah Nordby is dealing with a shoulder strain and has sat out the last two games. Nordby is averaging more than 11.4 points and more than 10 rebounds.
Nevertheless, this season New England is sitting second in the District 13 with an 8-5 overall record and 2-1 mark in league play. The Tigers are averaging 48.3 points per game, while allowing 40.2. The big key to the 8.1-point differential is due to the play of their non-seniors.
“Our underclassmen have been a huge part of our success this year,” New England head coach Jason Jung said. “They are competing so hard in practice against each other and it’s carrying over to the games.”
Junior Gabbi Hanson, the younger sister of former New England standout and Region 7 player of the year Kaine Hanson, leads the team with 14.6 points per game and scored a season-high 23 in a 45-41 loss to Killdeer on Monday. Senior Ashley Plaggemeyer adds 6.9 points and junior Autumn Wolf is supplying 3.8, though she has averaged 8.8 points in last four games as her playing time has increased.
The Tigers get back to District 13 play against Hettinger-Scranton at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“This is definitely the biggest game of the season for us,” Jung said. “It has huge implications for both teams in the district standings. Even though we lost the overtime game, I think we gained so much confidence.”