Dickinson Trinity is playing underdog role as it faces Beach in the Region 7 championshipThe lone meeting between the Beach and Dickinson Trinity girls basketball teams on Jan. 3 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center is nothing more than a distant memory.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The lone meeting between the Beach and Dickinson Trinity girls basketball teams on Jan. 3 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center is nothing more than a distant memory.
That goes for both teams.
More than two months later, the teams have a combined 33-5 record and a pair of district championships.
Trinity, the District 14 champion, will look to break District 13 champion Beach’s streak of three consecutive state tournament appearances in the Region 7 championship at 7:30 today at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
“We were consider the underdogs coming into this season,” Trinity junior guard Katelyn Grinsteinner said. “We’ve definitely proven a lot. We’re just going continue to work hard and hopefully achieve our goals.”
In the last four games, two District 13 games and two Region 7 games, the Buccaneers have scored 75.8 points per game, while allowing 36.3 — a differential of 39.5.
In the last couple weeks, Beach (19-5) has hanged its hat on its ability to focus on the goal it set at the beginning of the season. Get back to the state tournament for a fourth consecutive season.
“The kids have been practicing really hard and with a lot of intensity,” Beach head coach Bob Waldal said. “They know they have to play 100 percent and it has to be from all five people on the floor.”
Trinity (18-5), on the other hand, hasn’t been to the Class B state tournament since the 2005-06 season when it finished sixth. The Titans are also making their first appearance in the Region 7 championship after finishing runner-up in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009.
Nonetheless, Trinity isn’t focused on the past, but what the future holds. The Titans’ entire roster consists of juniors and freshmen. Rachel Jahner, a junior guard, has played for the Titans since she was an eighth-grader. She leads the team averaging 16.8 points per contest during the postseason. Grinsteinner finished the regular season with 9.1 points per game.
“We’re really excited and we haven’t been here in a long time” Jahner said on Wednesday, a day after she tied an unofficial North Dakota state record with 10 3-pointers in a 61-53 win over Bowman County in the Region 7 semifinals. “We have a group of young kids and it’s good to get the experience.”
In the last four games, the Titans are averaging 55.5 points per contest, while giving up 36.3 — a differential of 19.2 points.
“We have some girls that other teams key on, but what’s been nice is we’ve had other girls step up,” Trinity head coach Alysia Barman said. “I can’t say enough about our bench. When our bench is scoring 25 to 30 points per night is an advantage for us.”
Beach leans on a trio of juniors, who have a wealth of state tournament experience. During the postseason, Bailey Waldal leads the team with 18 points, while Cydni Stedman has supplied 17.3 and Hailee Farstveet is contributing 13.5.
“Everybody can go, attack the basket and score,” Bailey Waldal said. “It’s really nice to have that, because if some of us are having off games there are other people there to pick us up.”
Though the Buccaneers look to those three more often than not, the leading scorer isn’t always one of those three. During Beach’s 82-34 quarterfinals win against Beulah on Monday, freshman Brooklyn Zachmann led the team with a season-high 21 points. Zachmann is the lone Beach player who didn’t see the court against Trinity in the team’s first meeting, because of illness.
The Titans have their own player who wasn’t on the court during the team’s lone meeting. It was 5-foot-10 freshman forward Alanna Sickler, who joined the team in the sixth game of the season. She added to a frontcourt that already included two 6-footers and averaged 8.7 points per game in the regular season.
Having three players standing 5-10 and taller, the Titans know rebounding in any game is key, but they want to win the battle on the boards to limit Beach’s second-chance opportunities. The Buccaneers’ tallest player is junior Paige Rising, who comes off the bench and is 5-10. Farstveet and Stedman, both 5-8, are their tallest starters.
“Our bigs have been playing well for us, as far as rebounding and being able to score inside,” Barman said. “Our bigs have been important for us throughout the season and they are going to be important for us (tonight).”