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Dickinson relying on defense to open season

Press File Photo Dickinson High senior guard Parker Egli goes up for a layup against Minot during a West Region game last year on Dec. 22 at DHS gymnasium.

There were no surprises about the Dickinson High boys basketball team’s game plan last year.

The Midgets knew it. The other teams knew it. And a majority of the fans knew it.

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The plan was to get the ball to 6-foot-4 forward Jordan Krieg, who ended up being a Class A all-state selection after finishing third in the West Region in scoring with 17.5 points per game and first in rebounding 9.3.

“In preseason, other teams knew that,” Dickinson head coach John Wilson said about Krieg.

Krieg has since graduated, and Dickinson now needs a new plan of attack.

As of right now, the offense is a work in progress and the Midgets are going to lean on their defense at the beginning of the season.

“We are coming in under the radar this year,” Wilson said. “We’ve talked about it in practice that we don’t have one guy that we are designing 100 sets for right now, but we do have a bunch of guys that can score. We are going to look at scoring in different ways than we have in the past.

“We are extremely athletic and we’ve got guys that we are going to have to find different ways of creating shots for. I likened this year to my first year here where we started a bunch of young kids and nobody had to be that guy. Right now, we don’t have that guy, but it could be a different guy every night.”

Despite losing Krieg, Jaden Kudrna and Alex Huschka last season, the Midgets return a host of players with varsity experience from last year’s team.

The roster includes seniors Dylan Skabo (5-10, guard), Levi Jordheim (6-2, forward), Parker Egli (6-1, guard) and Mac Rohr (6-1, forward). The junior class includes Luke Herauf (6-3, center) and Mark Erickson (5-9, guard).

Erickson, Skabo and Jordheim each started more than 16 games last season. Herauf played in 19 games and Egli appeared in 15. Erickson averaged 6 points per game, while Jordheim supplied 6.5 and Skabo added 4.9 points per game.

“Getting that time really gives you experience when you are an upperclassmen — junior and seniors,” Erickson said. “It really helps you develop confidence in yourself. It allows you to be more vocal and be more of a leader.”

The newcomers to the varsity level are senior Judson Mork (6-5, center), juniors Preston Theurer (5-9, guard), Drew Bechtold (5-10, guard), Bronson Lewis (5-8, guard), Nicholas Himmelspach (5-10, guard), Jackson Binstock (5-8, guard) and Austin Kubas (5-9, guard). The lone freshman on the roster is 6-2 guard Aanen Moody.

Wilson is excited about Mork’s potential, even though he didn’t go out for basketball last season. Though there’s a little bit of inexperience, Wilson said Mork possesses one area a coach can’t teach — height.

“You can’t teach 6-5 and he’ll be a little more of a project,” Wilson said. “Even after Tuesday’s scrimmage, we said he’s a kid that’s starting to figured out.”

The Midgets finished last season with an 11-11 overall and lost to Mandan in the West Region Tournament’s state-qualifying game. Dickinson averaged 57.7 points and allowed 56.8.

Dickinson knows its offense is going to be work in progress.

However, Wilson doesn’t want to be tournament-ready in December. He wants be ready for the postseason by March.

“Offensively, we are going to have to develop as the season goes along,” he said. “We are putting a lot of emphasis on defense, but I think we can be defensively ready a little bit quicker. To get us to March is how well our offensive skills and offensive chemistry develops.”

Erickson added: “Our main goal is to get to state. That’s something we all want to do, but we have to look at every game as one game. We want to win each possession of game and I think that’s going to be a success for us.Obviously, you can’t win them all, but you sure give it our best effort.”