Creating their shot: DHS hangs on to beat Williston, stays in contention for state tourneyBISMARCK — The Dickinson High boys basketball team had a 26-point average margin of victory against Williston in the two regular season games.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
BISMARCK — The Dickinson High boys basketball team had a 26-point average margin of victory against Williston in the two regular season games.
The Midgets saw a completely different Coyote team on Friday.
Nonetheless, sixth-seeded Dickinson kept its focus and battled with seventh-seeded Williston en route to a 57-49 win during the consolation semifinals of the West Region Tournament at the Bismarck Civic Center Exhibition Hall.
“We try to tell the kids all the time, ‘Don’t worry about seeds, don’t about wins or losses or who you play,’” Dickinson head coach John Wilson said. “We battled a very well-coached team. They played very well and they made us work.”
Dickinson moves on to play Mandan at 1:30 p.m. today in the Bismarck Civic Center main arena in a state-qualifier game. The winner gets a ticket to the state tournament.
Every time the Midgets needed a basket, seniors Jordan Krieg and Alex Huschka answered the call.
Each player supplied crucial baskets at different points in time. Krieg made his mark in the paint and at the free-throw line, while Huschka’s main contributions came from 3-point range. He finished 3 of 4, including a pair from NBA range. Krieg supplied a game-high 19 points and Huschka finished with 11.
“I was feeling it in the first half a little,” Huschka said with a smile. “The one crossover happened to fall that I had in corner to beat the shot clock. Luckily, it fell.”
Wilson didn’t shy away from saying a couple of Huschka’s 3-pointers were nervous moments.
“He had a couple of those, ‘No, no, no, yes, yes, yes,’ shots as I call them,” Wilson said. “He’s a kid that’s not fearful. If he hits one, he just gets that confidence going and that groove.”
As the Midgets (11-10) headed down the stretch with a nine-point lead, they had their struggles from the free-throw line. Dickinson finished 9 of 16 (56 percent) from the stripe, but Huschka said there was never a sense of panic on the team.
“I don’t think anybody on our team was nervous, because of how we well we were playing defense in the second half,” Huschka said. “I think we were all pretty confident that we were going to get those stops.”
In the final 40 seconds, when the team needed free throws the most, Krieg came to the rescue. The senior knocked in pair of free throws to ensure of the two possession margin.
The 6-foot-4 post not only cashed in a pair of free throws with 39 seconds left, but he grabbed the final rebound. The Midgets held a 37-20 edge on points in the paint as Luke Herauf led the team with seven rebounds, while Krieg and Levi Jordheim each had six.
“We had a lot of guys that did a nice job tonight,” Wilson said. “We got into a little bit of foul trouble and I was happy with the way our kids played.”
Williston head coach Mark Slotsve felt his team played extremely well in the second half of the season and the team’s two postseason games.
The Coyotes (5-16) battled in the first 8 minutes of the second half, but Dickinson eventually took the lead for good after a Krieg layup with 11:12 left. Jayden Ferguson led the Coyotes with 16 points while Brennan Goldade added 13.
“I thought our kids played hard today,” Slotsve said. “Give Dickinson some credit. They were able to make shots at the end and kind of extended its lead. It took us a while to get going this year and we’ve really made some strides.”
After Huschka buried his first and only 3-pointer of the first half with 14 seconds remaining, the Midgets held a 29-28 advantage going into the halftime. The only player in double-digits for either team was Ferguson’s 12.
The Midgets stepped out of the locker room after halftime with the sense they needed to increase their defensive intensity. Dickinson executed the plan to a tee in the final 18 minutes.
Wilson believes his team has yet to play their best game of the season and he said, “There’s no time like the present.”
“You hope that you haven’t played your best game yet,” Wilson said with a smile.
W: Jayden Ferguson 16, Brennan Goldade 13, Seth Erickson 9, Hyrum Gentry 4, Matt Kohler 3, Justin Grindeland 2, Isaac Erickson 2.
D: Jordan Krieg 19, Alex Huschka 11, Dylan Skabo 7, Parker Egli 6, Luke Herauf 4, Levi Jordheim 4, Jaden Kudrna 4, Matt Becker 2.
Half: D 29-28. 3-pointers: W 5 (Erickson 3, Ferguson 1, Goldade 1), D 4 (Huschka 3, Skabo 1). Free throws: W 12-20, D 9-16. Total fouls: W 20, D 23. Fouled out: W, Isaac Erickson. D, Kudrna. Rebounds: W 20 (I. Erickson 5), D 37 (Herauf 7). Assists: W 8 (Grindeland 3), D 13 (Herauf 3, Kudrna 3). Steals: W 8 (I. Erickson 4), D 6 (Krieg 2). Blocks: W 0, D 2 (Krieg 2). Turnovers: W 12, D 16. Records: W 5-16, D 11-10.