Rebounding trouble put dent in Dickinson effort
Despite a spirited effort through 36 minutes of play, the Dickinson High boys basketball team didn't have the answers to combat its opponent's size and athleticism.
Spearheaded by three players 6-foot-4 or taller, Mandan countered every Midgets run, en route to a 80-63 victory on Tuesday, Feb. 13 from the DHS gym.
The Braves improved to 17-2 overall and 14-2 in the West Region, good enough for the top spot in the conference.
"That's a darn good team, they're first place in the conference for a reason," Dickinson head coach Dan Glasser said. "They're so big and athletic. It's not that they are big and can't move."
Mandan looked to take advantage of their size advantage early.
Catching Dickinson asleep on a pair of inbound plays underneath the basket, passes lobbed high to 6-foot-6 forward/center Camren Steckler resulted in an open 3-pointer from junior guard Trey Wiest and Steckler earning a trip to the free throw line.
The Midgets countered by fronting Steckler in the post. On one particular play, Midgets senior guard Dawson Bechtold was matched up on the big man. After a pass was thrown over the top, the 5-foot-10 Bechtold perfectly timed his leap and cleanly blocked Steckler from behind, bringing the crowd and the Midgets' bench to their feet.
On the other end, Dickinson senior post player Braden Selinger briefly took over.
Selinger drew a shooter foul on Steckler after a pump-fake lifted the center in the air. Later, Selinger finished a left-handed baseline drive with a floater. Scoring eight consecutive points, he single-handedly cut the Midgets deficit to 20-18.
Mandan responded with a 12-3 run. With the defense collapsing toward 6-foot-4 senior forward/center Trae Steckler and 6-foot-6 sophomore forward/center Elijah Klein, the Braves took advantage with 3-pointers from senior guard Easton Miller and junior guard Keshawn Laframboise.
If the shots from the outside weren't falling, Mandan's size advantage resulted in offensive rebounds. The Midgets trailed by 15 entering halftime.
"I thought we were getting to the rim very well, we just didn't finish," Glasser said. "We missed some wide open lay-ups and we didn't shoot well from the free throw line. I think they had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, that's 11 extra shots that they get. When you are going against a team as good as they are, you definitely don't want to give them those extra shots."
Dickinson got to within eight midway through the second half.
After junior forward Martin Lopez and senior forward Krew Mathern executed a 2-on-1 fastbreak, sophomore post player Tallon Klatt followed with a hook shot inside. After getting a stop on defense, Lopez slithered through multiple Braves defenders for a three-point-play, bringing the score to 49-41.
Mathern led the Midgets with 15 points while Lopez added 14 points and three steals.
Mandan put the game away with a 13-3 run, capped with a 3-pointer from junior guard Evan Arenz.
"I thought Dickinson came out and played with a lot of energy," Mandan head coach Brandon Schafer said. "Luckily, we made some shots early in the first half and did a nice job on the offensive glass. We could never pull away from them. Every time we had a point in the game where I thought we could stretch it out, they made plays and kept it close. Just happy to come up here and get a win."
Trae Steckler posted 25 points and 12 rebounds, Klein finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Camren Steckler added nine points and 10 rebounds.
Mandan outrebounded Dickinson by a 49-34 margin.
"Trey has been an all-state player for a couple of years now and he's just a beast down low," Glasser said. "His brother is just as good. They got three guys over 6-foot-4, so it just makes it really tough to match them. We knew rebounding was going to be a big deal going into the game and it's just tough to control that size and strength."
Mandan 80, Dickinson High 63
M 42 38
D 27 36
M: Trae Steckler 25, Elijah Klein 19, Camren Steckler 9, Trey Wiest 7, Easton Miller 6, Evan Arenz 6, Jaxton Wiest 3, Keshawn Laframboise 3, Nick Gerding 2.
D: Krew Mathern 15, Martin Lopez 14, Dawson Bechtold 9, Braden Selinger 9, Cody Maier 5, Jaiden Wright 5, Nathan Personne 4, Tallon Klatt 2.
3-pointers: M 7 (Miller 2, Arenz 2), D 2 (Wright 1, Bechtold 1). Free throws: M 19-32, D 11-21. Total fouls: M 18, D 24. Fouled out: 1 (D: Klatt). Rebounds: M 49 (T. Steckler 12), D 34 (Klatt 6). Assists: M 5 (T. Wiest), D 5 (Lopez 2). Steals: M 8 (Klein 3), D 9 (Lopez 3). Blocks: M 3 (Miller 1, Klein 1, J. Wiest 1), D 2 (Klatt 2). Turnovers: M 15, D 13. Records: M 17-2 (West Region 14-2), D 5-14 (West Region 3-13).