Midgets hold on to beat BravesThe Dickinson High boys basketball team was nearly perfect from the free-throw line.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson High boys basketball team was nearly perfect from the free-throw line.
That was until a 30-second stretch in the final minute.
Luckily for the Midgets, sophomore Mark Erickson came off the bench to knock down a pair of free throws with 1 second left to ensure a 53-50 win over Mandan in a West Region game on Tuesday at DHS gymnasium.
“To win big games, you have to make free throws,” Dickinson head coach John Wilson said. “Thank God, we made enough. We’ve been in this spot before, but this is the first time we been on the positive side of the mountain.”
The Midgets’ final home game marked the last time seniors Jordan Krieg, Jaden Kudrna and Alex Huschka will take the floor at DHS gymnasium.
“It was a good game,” Kudrna said. “It’s just good to win the final home game.”
Dickinson held a 50-45 lead after Krieg and Kudrna each sank a basket, while Levi Jordheim sprinkled in six-straight free throws.
Krieg posted a game-high 21 points along with five rebounds and two blocks. Jordheim added 10 points and three boards.
With 30 seconds left, the game was far from over. After Nathan Schmidt was charged with a technical foul, Kudrna stepped to the free-throw line and missed both attempts. Kudrna finished the game with 15 points and five rebounds.
The Midgets (9-9, 6-9 West) missed five straight free throws in the 30 seconds. Dickinson finished the game 14 of 20 from the free-throw line.
“It’s definitely nerve-wracking,” Kudrna said. “We hardly miss free throws in practice, but it’s definitely nerve-wracking when you start missing multiple free throws in a row.”
Sophomore Justin Fenster helped dig Mandan (8-11, 8-8 West) out of a couple holes throughout the game and struck again with his last of six 3-pointers with 12 seconds remaining to bring his team within three, 51-48.
Fenster scored a team-high 18 points while going 6 of 8 from 3-point range.
“I felt comfortable shooting the 3,” Fenster said. “I usually go to the ‘Y’ and just practice shooting 3’s. That’s my role on the team.”
After a pair of missed free throws from Huschka, Mandan’s Erron Collins drained a pair from the line to bring his team within one.
Erickson, who hadn’t attempted a shot the entire game, was fouled and sent to the free-throw line. He handled the pressure and knocked down back-to-back free throws to extend the Midgets’ lead back to three points. Mandan’s full-court shot in the final seconds fell short.
Dickinson’s biggest defensive spark came from junior Dylan Skabo holding Collins, who came into the game leading the West Region with 20.1 points per game, to 11.
Skabo had seven assists, four steals and two points.
“Dylan did an outstanding job on Collins,” Wilson said. “Dylan took one of the best players in the state and he made that kid work. That’s unbelievable.”
After a back-and-forth battle in the first half, Dickinson led 26-25 at halftime. Krieg supplied 11 points in the opening 18 minutes.
The Midgets look to end the season with a win when they travel to Jamestown at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday. Then it’s off to the Bismarck Civic Center for the West Region Tournament that begins March 7.
“We don’t want to lose a game from here on out,” Kudrna said. “That’s our goal. We got Jamestown and then we got a good week of rest before the tournament.”
M: Justin Fenster 18, Erron Collins 11, Nathan Schmidt 9, Keetan Wanner 4, Jacob Hanson 4, Dokken Olsen 2, Daniel Peterson 2.
D: Jordan Krieg 21, Jaden Kudrna 15, Levi Jordheim 10, Alex Huschka 3, Dylan Skabo 2, Mark Erickson 2.
Half: D 26-25. 3-pointers: M 7 (Fenster 6, Schmidt 1), D 3 (Krieg 1, Huschka 1, Kudrna 1). Free throws: M 5-8, D 14-20. Total fouls: M 16, D 12. Technical fouls: M, Schmidt. Rebounds: M 23 (four with three), D 27 (Krieg 5, Kudrna 5). Assists: M 11 (Collins 4), D 13 (Skabo 7). Steals: M 3 (Olsen 2), D 5 (Skabo 4). Blocks: M 2 (Olsen 1, Hanson 1), D 2 (Krieg 2). Turnovers: M 13, D 16. Records: M 8-11 (8-8 West), D 9-9 (6-9 West).