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Majettes hold off resilient Midgets

Press Photo Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson High senior guard Riana Cooper, right, goes up for a shot against a pair of Minot defenders during a West Region game on Friday at DHS gymnasium.

Fresh off its first West Region win of the season, the Dickinson High girls basketball team tried to carry over its momentum and elated emotions.

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Minot defeated the Midgets 60-55 Friday at DHS gymnasium, but the team put up a late second half rally to not go down without a fight.

“It was a fun game, our girls battled,” Dickinson head coach Dan Pender said. “We were on the short end of the stick, but you know, going down and losing by five I thought our girls did wonderful, I really do.”

Down by 19, 41-22, with 11 minutes, 13 seconds left, junior forward Meryl Kovacs rebounded a missed Dickinson shot for a layup to start her team’s final push to get back in the game. Kovacs — who ended with 11 points and five rebounds — scored the next three points as the Midgets outscored the Majettes 15-3 to close the gap to four.

Minot tried pulling away as junior forward Sierra Duffenhefer hit her two free throws to put the team up by nine. Duffenhefer finished with game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds.

But the Majettes couldn’t shake the Midgets.

“We came back and realized Minot is a good team and we got to come out in the second half and go hard and we just got after it,” Kovacs said.

With just two seconds left, eighth-grader Lexi Jordheim hit a long 3-pointer, but there wasn’t enough time for a final rally as the Majettes sealed the victory.

Minot went 19 for 56 (34 percent) from the field and 15 for 22 from the free-throw line. The team made six of its last seven.

“I’m pretty proud of the girls, after a rough game at Bismarck last night getting beat by five, I thought we responded pretty well and came down and ready to play,” Minot head coach Todd Magnuson said. “… I’m going to give kudos to Dickinson. Dickinson played a heck of a game and they’ve really improved a lot. My hats off to coach Pender and his coaches.”

The Midgets never held a lead but tried to keep it close in the first seven minutes of the game. The teams tied twice at 2-2 and 4-4 with shots from Kovacs and eighth-grader Raegan Linster, respectively. Down 18-8, Dickinson went on a mini six-point run starting with a layup by senior Sierra Rohr, a foul shot by senior Riana Cooper and closed out with a short 3-pointer from Linster.

Down just by four, the Midgets began to dwindle and the Majettes capitalized on their turnovers. Minot hit three 3’s in the final four minutes and outscored Dickinson 12-5 until the end of the half.

“Our defense wasn’t so good in the first half,” said Linster, who finished with a team-high 16 points, five rebounds and five steals. “We were getting really tired and we weren’t getting on I very well, letting them shoot too much.”

The Midgets struggled to find the basket for most of the game, making just 20 percent (6 for 30) in the first half and finishing 16 for 61 (26 percent) from the floor. But the team completed 80 percent (16 for 20) of its shots from the free-throw line.

Dickinson has a tough task at hand for next week. The Midgets travel to take on No. 1-ranked Bismarck High at 4 p.m. Thursday.

“It really pumped us up and it helps us know we can compete against good teams, we’re not just this hopeless team that’s really bad,” Linster said. “We have all the skills to win, we just don’t always play like it.”

M: Cassie Askvig 24, Sophie Bengson 13, Sierra Duttenhefer 9, Jayden Moum 7, Brooke Suko 6, Mckale Duttenhefer 1.

D: Raegan Linster 16, Meryl Kovacs 11, Lexi Jordheim 6, Riley Cooper 5, Sydney Gangl 4, Sierra Rohr 4, Riana Cooper 4, Lillie Meduna 3, Avery Privratsky 2.

Halftime score M 31-19. 3-pointers: M 7 (Suko 2, Askvig 2, Bengson 2, Moum 1), D 7 (Linster 3, Riley Cooper 1, Riana Cooper 1, Jordheim 1, Meduna 1). Free throws: M 15-22, D 16-20. Total fouls: M 18, D 20. Rebounds: M 44 (Askvig 10), D 43 (three with five). Assists: M 10 (Moum 4), D 7 (Rohr 3). Steals: M 8 (S. Duttenhefer 3), D 7 (Linster 3). Blocks: D 1 (Privratsky 1). Turnovers: M 10, D 17.

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.