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Blue Hawks get first win of season over Valley City

VALLEY CITY — In nail-biting fashion, the Dickinson State men’s basketball team earned its first win of the season.

The Blue Hawks came from behind with less than two minutes left to defeat Valley City State 60-57 Tuesday night in its first regular season game of the year.

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“I think we kind of needed one, especially a close game like that,” DSU head coach Ty Orton said. “We needed to step up and win something like that. That will help the guys with their confidence and showing they keep fighting, perseverance. They get through it and that’s going to make them that much better.”

Down by three points with one minute, 23 seconds left in the game, freshman guard Jacob Volk hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 57-57. Volk scored DSU’s last six points, the 3-point shot as well as three free throws, to permanently lift his team over the Vikings.

With three seconds left, Volk was fouled and made both of his free throws. With Volk seen as the hero of this game, Orton said tonight’s win was a team effort and all his player’s had noteworthy performances.

Senior guard Ty Ackelson led his team with 11 points and seven rebounds, while junior post Mackenson Odenier, senior post Isiah Thomas, freshman post Sean Kelly and Volk each had eight points.

Russell Robinson and McDonald were the only two players with double-digit points for the Vikings, recording 11 and 14, respectively.

The seven-straight overall losses prior to Tuesday’s game took a toll on the Blue Hawks’ mentality. Orton tries to preach to his teams to live in the moment and play one possession at a time, but also understands the effects a loss can have on a player’s mental game.

“When you have a very high character group, their short term memory isn’t where it needs to be at and they need to forget about it,” Orton said. “When you fail you just need to move forward and sometimes it’s hard. When you sit there and look at today’s day and age when everyone thinks you should win everything you do.”

With the loss streak broken and spirits high, the Blue Hawks visit University of Jamestown at 7:30 p.m. today. When the team has back to back games, Orton focuses solely on the first opponent and will have a scouting report and film ready for his team to use to prepare for what the team has in store. Orton said the Jimmies are fast, like to shoot three’s and the biggest player to watch out for is senior guard Mark Hoge who is athletic, shoots the three-ball very well and “is a player that makes everyone better.” But with momentum in its favor, DSU could have a shot at taking down Jamestown.

“These kids know how to make adjustments on the fly to a certain extent,” Orton said. “I played for a tremendous coach in high school and he said … ‘It doesn’t always matter what they’re doing, it’s what we do. They need to stop us.’ And that’s something I’ve been trying to tell these kids too and that goes back to confidence too. They need to stop us and we need to do what we do and we need to do it well in order to compete.”

DICKINSON STATE (1-3): Ty Ackelson 3-9 4-6 11, Robbie Morey 0-1 0-0 0, Phillip Johnson 3-10 0-0 7, Tevin Russell 1-3 0-0 2, mackenson Odenier 3-8 2-2 8, Juston Goodwin 1-1 0-0 2, DeSean Atkins 0-4 1-2 1, Brock Boos 2-6 0-0 5, Isiah Thomas 4-5 0-2 8, Jacob Volk 1-4 5-6 8, Sean Kelly 4-7 0-0 8. Totals: 22-58 12-18 60.

VALLEY CITY STATE (2-5): Russell Robsinson 4-8 3-6 11, Aaron Duske 4-11 0-0 9, AJ McDonald 4-16 4-9 14, Jeremy Ware 1-7 6-7 8, Mac Kroeplin 2-7 0-0 6, Jeff Romeus 4-10 0-1 9. Totals: 19-59 13-23 57.

Halftime: 30-29. Total fouls: VCSU 19, DSU 23. Fouled out: DSU Morey. 3-point goals: VCSU 6-27 (Robinson 0-1, Duske 1-4, McDonald 2-8, Ware 0-4, Kroeplin 2-5, Romeus 1-5), DSU 4-14 (Ackelson 1-3, Morey 0-1, Johnson 1-2, Boos 1-5, Volk 1-3). Rebounds: VCSU 40 (Duske 9), DSU 50 (Ackelson 7). Assists: VCSU 11 (McDonald 6), DSU 13 (Russell, Atkins 3). Steals: VCSU 8 (Duske, McDonald, Ware 2), DSU 4 (Atkins 2). Blocks: VCSU 1 (Ty Pratt 1), DSU 4 (Odenier 2). Turnovers: VCSU 21 (Duske 6), DSU 22 (Russell 5).

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.