Picking up momentumComing into the season, Dickinson High boys head basketball coach John Wilson knew it was going to be a learning experience.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Coming into the season, Dickinson High boys head basketball coach John Wilson knew it was going to be a learning experience.
With one full-time returning starter and another player who had only come off the bench, the Midgets had basically a new group trying to get acclimated to the varsity level.
“We knew it was going to be a building process, but we can also say there have been some great surprises,” Wilson said. “What I’m really happy about is our kids have played at the level they are playing at with the little experience we had to begin with.”
The Midgets have an 8-8 record on the season and are 5-8 in the West Region. Senior center Jordan Krieg, the team’s lone returning starter, said the scariest part for the Midgets is the team has yet to put together a full 36-minute performance.
“We knew coming into the year that WDA is pretty even,” Krieg said. “You have to be ready every night and just give it your all. When we play together as a team, we can play with anybody. I don’t there’s been a game where we’ve put 36 quality minutes together. That’s what makes it scary.”
Krieg leads the Midgets with 17.6 points per game and leads the West Region with 9.25 rebounds per game. Jaden Kudrna, a senior guard, was Dickinson’s only other player returning with a wealth of varsity experience. Kudrna averages 10.4 points and has made 21 3-pointers.
Sophomore guard Mark Erickson is averaging 6.3 points per game, while senior guard Alex Huschka comes off the bench to average 5.75 points.
“People have stepped up when we needed them to and made plays,” Krieg said. “Hopefully, we can be in full force when the tournament comes around.”
The Midgets have three games left in the regular season. The first game is against Bismarck St. Mary’s at 6:45 p.m. Thursday. The last time the Saints played the Midgets, St. Mary’s junior Ben Weisbeck dropped 30 points in a 75-65 win.
Dickinson, however, knows it can’t just try to contain Weisbeck, who averages 17.7 points per game, because there are two other scorers who have the possibility of putting together a 30-point night. Darius Sparks averages 15.4 points per game while Scott Nagel supplies 11.2.
“You worry about Weisbeck and then Sparks or Nagel or someone else will go off,” Wilson said. “They have a bunch of weapons. We’ll have to mix up defenses against him and the entire team.”
The Midgets’ final home game is against Mandan at 7:30 p.m. net Tuesday. They then play a makeup game against Jamestown, which was postponed due to weather from Jan. 11, at 6:45 p.m. next Thursday.
“It’s going to be nice now where we have that Thursday game, so we’ll have a full week from the end of the season to the West Region tournament,” Wilson said.
Trinity girls gaining confidence
When Dickinson Trinity head girls basketball coach Alysia Barman has looked at the final scoreboard for the last nine games, her team has been on the winning side.
The Titans have already nabbed the No. 1 seed in the District 14 tournament beginning next Friday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. However, Trinity isn’t looking past its final two regular-season games — both of which are on the road.
“We’ve really come together as a group and we are understanding our roles on the team,” Barman said. “We found a rotation where our kids are starting to play really well with one another.”
Trinity travels to Watford City at 7 p.m. Friday and visits Bowman County at 7 p.m. Saturday.
During the Titans’ nine-game win streak, one player who has been asked to keep the team on a roll has been Rachel Jahner. The junior guard is averaging 11.5 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals per game.
“Rachel does so many things for us,” Barman said. “Often times, Rachel doesn’t receive the credit that she deserves. She really stepped up. Her numbers across the board are phenomenal.”
Along with Jahner, a host of freshmen have been stepping into big roles for the Titans.
Since Alana Sicker, a freshman forward, joined the team against Minot Our Redeemer’s in early January, the Titans have only lost one game. Sickler is averaging nine points per game, though she has missed the last three with an ankle injury. Kennedy Keator and Brianna Soehren come off the bench to supply 7.8 and 3.8 points per game, respectively.
Though Trinity doesn’t have any seniors on the squad, Barman said the biggest asset to the freshmen has been the team’s eight juniors. The juniors include Katelyn Grinsteinner, who averages 10.4 points per game, Jillian Stockert (5.3 ppg), Gretchen Weir (5.0 ppg) and Allison Steffan (3.1 ppg).
“Our freshmen have done a really good job of stepping up and I think a big part of that is how our juniors have responded playing with them,” Barman said. “They’ve made it easier for our freshmen to step into some of these roles.”
DHS girls hit road with a chip on its shoulder
Since compiling a 6-7 overall record, the Dickinson High girls basketball team has now lost its last three games.
With three games remaining in the regular season — two on the road and one at home — the Midgets look to get back on the winning page when they travel to Bismarck St. Mary’s at 5 p.m. Thursday.
“We have to go on the road with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” Dickinson head coach Dan Pender said. “We have to go in with a little more confidence and have a little fun.”
Dickinson needed overtime, but defeated the Saints 69-67 at the DHS gymnasium on Feb. 1. The Midgets followed up the overtime win with another win against Williston. After the back-to-back wins, Dickinson has lost its past three games by an average of 22 points.
Ali Moody, a senior post, leads the Midgets with 15.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, while senior post Rachel Schroeder averages 11.2 points and 5.1 rebounds. Senior guard Taylor Cooper supplies 8.6 points and 5.8 rebounds.
“Offensively, when we do things we want them to do, we do some really nice things,” Pender said. “We’ve got to be patient and our posts need touches. I think when we get more movement, we are better off.”