Midgets hang on: Turnover bug doesn't bite DHS in win over Cowgirls
The turnover department has stifled the Dickinson High girls basketball team for most of the season.
But when its offense is running, anything is possible.
Dickinson made free throws down the stretch and played solid defense en route to a 61-60 win over Custer County (Mont.) on Tuesday at the DHS gymnasium.
"Both teams fought very hard and we missed a shot to win it," Custer County head coach Cary Veis said. "It was just a good basketball game."
The Midgets (5-12) took a 55-46 lead with 7 minutes, 50 seconds left on a Leslie Beaudoin layup. Beaudoin had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
From there, Custer County (7-10) started to mount a comeback. The Cowgirls tied the game at 55 with a 9-point run.
The Midgets didn't go away quietly though, making 6 of 10 from the free-throw line in the final 5 minutes.
"We built up the lead and we started missing the free throws and throwing the ball around," Pender said. "At the end, when we needed to make free throws. We made them."
Though Dickinson was able to run its offense for a majority of the game, Custer County's defensive pressure kept the Midgets in check. The Midgets turned the ball over 25 times, while the Cowgirls had 23.
"We got the ball moved on offense," Pender said. "We still had some turnovers, but in the second half we were a lot better with it."
The Cowgirls' defensive pressure turned into points and Veis said it was important all game.
"Our pressure defense caused some turnovers and got us some easy baskets," Veis said. "That was big for us all night."
The Midgets took a 61-60 lead after junior Ali Moody drained two free throws with 1:16 remaining.
Moody had team-highs of 17 points and 13 rebounds.
"Ali (Moody) just dominated in the post," Pender said.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Custer County had the ball and a chance to win it.
Kaylee Swope, who was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and posted 11 points, threw up a last-second shot and that bounced off the iron.
Dickinson lost to Custer County 52-40 in Miles City, Mont., on Dec. 7.
"We hit some big shots and they hit some big shots," Veis said. "We just missed one at end of the game."
Tess Blaquiere led the Cowgirls with 20 points. Blaquiere was a big asset throughout the game, but got into foul trouble late in the game.
"Tess did a nice job for us," Veis said. "All the girls did a nice job."
Dickinson took a 31-29 advantage at halftime. Pender's message was to set the tone in the first minutes and junior Rachel Schroeder took that to heart.
"It was all just taking care of the ball," said Schroeder, who had 13 points and five rebounds. "We wanted to make sure we took care of the ball and get good looks instead of making dumb passes."
The big boost for the Midgets was Sydney Gangl's 13 points off the bench.
"She's a really good shooter when she's set," Pender said. "We got some ball movement and we did some good things there."
If the Midgets can beat Bismarck St. Mary's on the road Thursday and hold off Mandan next Tuesday, it will avoid the West Region Tournament play-in game.
"We really think that if we get these next wins, we will get on a roll of confidence," Schroeder said. "That's what we need right now."
CC: Tess Blaquiere 20, Ashlee Janitell 11, Kaylee Swope 11, Alecia Chamberlain 6, Dani Finn 6, Haley Roberts 2, Tori Swope 2, Beth Sutter 2.
D: Ali Moody 17, Sydney Gangl 13, Rachel Schroeder 13, Leslie Beaudoin 11, Taylor Cooper 4, Riley Cooper 3.
Halftime: D 31-29. 3-pointers: CC 4 (K. Swope 3, Janitell 1), D 6 (Gangl 3, Beaudoin 1, R. Cooper 1, Moody 1). Free throws: CC 8-15, D 13-27. Total fouls: CC 18, D 15. Fouled out: CC, Finn. Rebounds: CC 37 (Finn 8), D 40 (Moody 13). Assists: CC 15 (Janitell 5), D 15 (Moody 4). Steals: CC 22 (Chamberlain 4), D 22 (Schroeder 3). Blocks: CC 0, D 5 (Beaudoin 3). Turnovers: CC 23, D 25. Records: CC 7-10, D 5-12.