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Titans triumphant in game of runs

Heart River senior guard Caleb Chruszch eyes the basket with Titans senior guard Alec Sickler defending on Thursday, Jan. 11 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)1 / 3
Trinity senior guard recovers a loose ball after diving attempts from Titans senior guard Alec Sickler and Cougars senior guard Trace Jacobson during a contest on Thursday, Jan 11 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. 2 / 3
Dickinson Trinity freshman guard Cole Fitterer attempts a jump shot against Heart River on Thursday, Jan. 11 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press). 3 / 3

Four weeks after playing its last home game, the Dickinson Trinity boys basketball team couldn't have been happier playing in familiar confines.

In their first action in front of their raucous home fans since the Roughrider Tournament when?, the Titans never trailed, defeating Heart River 66-57 on Thursday, Jan. 11 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

Following a six-game stretch on the road in which they stumbled to a four-game slide, Trinity has now won two games in a row.

"I think our kids are getting better," Trinity head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. "We had a tough stretch over Christmas. We played some really good teams that got us battled tested to play a game like tonight. This is a matter of resolve."

From the opening tip, the contest was a battle of spurts. Trinity scored the game's first 10 points, capped by a three-point play by Titans senior guard Noah Sickler, resulting in a Cougar timeout.

Heart River responded with a 7-0 run of its own after a pair of baskets from senior forward Jayden Krivoruchka and a bucket inside from senior center Andrew Hodell. The Titans (6-5, Region 7 3-0) scored the last five points of the opening period following an offensive rebound put-back by Sickler and a three-pointer from senior guard Alec Sickler.

The duo combined for all 15 first quarter points.

"We always try to preach to get off to a good start," Alec Sickler said. "Just shooting and getting into a rhythm, we did a good job in doing that."

Trinity sprung ahead to a 21-7 lead after scoring the first six points of the second quarter. The 11-0 run was completed when sophomore guard Matthew Stafford knocked down a baseline jumper, leading to another Cougar timeout.

Heart River (5-5, Region 7 3-2) again showed the ability to brush off a titanic punch. Junior forward Cauy Shypkoski buried a three-pointer late in the first half, chopping the deficit down to five.

Titans senior forward Jacob Kubas put a brief halt to the momentum with a baby-hook shot on the next possession as Trinity entered the halftime break up 31-24.

The Cougars tied the game at 33 midway through the third period when Shypkoski once again was money from three-point territory, but behind the leadership of Noah Sickler, Trinity never allowed the game to be close again.

The senior was tremendous down the stretch and showed a knack for scoring while absorbing contact. Titans scored the next nine points, the last of which coming a Noah Sickler hoop while being foul.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Sickler established deep post position and somehow was able to score despite being tripped and tumbling to the ground. He scored a game-high 30 points and completed three three-point play opportunities.

"We had a pretty big cushion, we let them come back a little bit, but we competed tonight and I think that's pretty big for us," Sickler said. "That was kind of our problem and it was nice to see everyone compete and grind it out. We wanted this one more."

Alec Sickler and Kubas each added 10 points for the Titans.

Senior guard Caleb Chruszch led the Cougars with 18 points while Krivoruchka added 17 points.

Heart River is 1-5 away from home and had a three-game winning streak snapped.

"I thought we started a little bit slow," Cougars head coach Greg Pruitt said. "If you take away the slow start on our part, we are right there at the end of the game. We know coming into Trinity and their gymnasium, we have to match the intensity that they put out there. We had a little bit of a slow start, but how proud can you be of a team that fights back like that. Trinity buries those teams a lot of times, but we fought back and gave them everything we got."

Dickinson Trinity 66, Heart River 57

HR 7 17 13 20

DT 15 16 15 20

HR: Caleb Chruszch 18, Jayden Krivoruchka 17, Cauy Shypkoski 9, Trace Jacobson 7, Andrew Hodell 6

DT: Noah Sickler 30, Alec Sickler 10, Jacob Kubas 10, Easton Walby 8, Colton Jones 4, Matthew Stafford 2, Cole Fitterer 2

3-pointers: HR 6 (Shypkoski 3, Krivoruchka 3), DT 3 (Alec Sickler 2). Free throws: HR 3-6, DT 13-18. Total fouls: HR X, DT 10. Records: HR 5-5 (District 3-2), DT 6-5 (Region 7 3-0).

Patrick Bernadeau

Patrick Bernadeau is a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press. He can be reached at his office number (701) 456-1211 or email him at pbernadeau@thedickinsonpress.com. Joining the Dickinson Press in July 2017, he was previously a freelance sports writer for Treasure Coast Newspapers (TCPalm.com) in Stuart, FL as well as carrying bylines from the Associated Press, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today and Naples Daily News. Prior to his move to Dickinson, he resided in Port St. Lucie, FL, earning a Bachelor's Degree from Florida Atlantic University. Patrick was born and raised in Brockton, Mass and is an avid Boston sports fan. Born to Haitian parents, Patrick's favorite meal is Griot with Banana Peze, Pikliz (Fried pork with smashed plaintains and a spicy vegetable relish) and a tall glass of Cherry Coke.

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