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No. 3-ranked Saints edge DHS

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson High freshman guard Aanen Moody, left, passes against a Bismarck St. Mary’s defender during a West Region game on Friday at DHS gymnasium. The No. 3-ranked Saints defeated the Midgets 74-68 as three players including Moody finished in double figures.

Last one to score wins the basketball game.

With 44 seconds left, Dickinson High senior guard Dylan Skabo scrambled down the court and passed the ball to senior guard Parker Egli for the layup to put the Midgets within two points of No. 3-ranked Bismarck St. Mary’s.

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But the Saints picked up six points on foul shots with seconds left to lift them over the Midgets 74-68 in a West Region game on Friday at DHS gymnasium. But the loss was nothing to cry about and Dickinson took pride in showing they could compete with top-ranked teams.

“That was probably our best game of the year, we actually played together for 36 minutes and we have nothing to hang our heads about except we couldn’t come out on top tonight,” Dickinson junior guard Mark Erickson said.

From the beginning of the game, it was back and forth and evenly matched. The Saints and Midgets were constantly exchanging leads.

Dickinson found itself in an early 4-0 deficit but quickly hustled to a 6-6 tie and was never down by more than three points for the remainder of the first half.

With time running out in the half, St. Mary’s 6-foot-5 senior post Dan Neff — who finished with eight points — put up a layup to go ahead 28-25. As Dickinson regained possession and crossed the half-court line, Erickson shot one last 3-pointer and nailed it with one second left to tie the game at 28 going into halftime.

Erickson was one of three Dickinson players in double-digit points and had a team-high 19. Freshman guard Aanen Moody was right behind with 18 points and junior Luke Herauf added 11.

“It’s always tough when you go on the road,” Bismarck head coach Brent De Kok said. “The WDA, there’s a lot of good teams out here and any gym you go into kids want to win it, kids are going to make shots and Dickinson made a lot of shots tonight, played really well.”

The second half was nearly identical — teams traded shots, leads, but the Saints started to gain a slight edge over Dickinson. Up 50-48, the Saints went on a six-point run and grew their lead to 59-50. Dickinson tried to fight back, but remained in St. Mary’s shadow until Herauf picked up a loose ball to tip it in for two and Egli made his shot to bring his team within two. 

Despite its record, Dickinson has been slowly but surely improving its game. Thursday night the Midgets lost to No. 1-ranked Bismarck Century, 78-55, but shot 57 percent. Friday night Dickinson slightly beat out St. Mary’s in most categories like shooting percentage — going 26 for 59 (44 percent) — and rebounds (36-35). But what sealed the win for the Saints were its chances at the free-throw line. St. Mary’s went 20 for 26 as Dickinson sank 7 of 8.

Dickinson head coach John Wilson said the way his team has played against top-ranked competition is a testament to how they’ve grown over the year.

“If you take our team where it is today versus our first trip to Belcourt, I don’t think you’d believe it’s the same team,” Wilson said. “That’s just our progression it’s been unbelievable … I haven’t seen a team make this many leaps and bounds improvements week in and week out and they get better everytime they get to practice.”

Moody added: “Coming from the start of the season I think we’ve come a long way. That’s the previous No. 1 team and I think we can compete with anybody.”

The Midgets have a week off to rest and prepare for their next game at Williston at 6:45 p.m. Thursday. After the near upset, the team will practice with a chip on its shoulder and use it as a confidence booster going the rest of the way.

“We take each loss to heart and that drives us the next day in practice,” Moody said. “We’re so close as a group we have that on the basketball court and off the court chemistry and that just flows with us and we keep getting better.”

SM: Ben Weisbeck 31, Darius Sparks 13, Ross Kopp 10, Brian Obritsch 9, Dan Neff 8, Grant Dvorak 4.

D: Mark Erickson 19, Aanen Moody 18, Luke Herauf 11, parker Egli 9, Dylan Skabo 8, Mac Rohr 3.

Halftime Score: Dickinson 28-28. 3-pointers: SM 3 (Sparks 3), D 9 (Moody 4, Skabo 2, Erickson 2, Egli 1). Free throws: SM 20-26, D 7-8. Total fouls: SM 13, D 20. Fouled out: D, Erickson. Rebounds: SM 35 (Weisbeck 13), D 36 (Rohr 8). Assists: SM 7 (three with two), D 9 (Skabo 5). Steals: SM 5 (Obritsch 2), D 5 (Skabo 3). Blocks: D 1 (Rohr 1). Turnovers: SM 9, D 16. Records: SM 3-10 (District 3-7), D 2-10 (District 0-9).

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.