Battle at the top: No. 4 Dickinson High holds on against No. 3 Patriots
It was a night when everything came together.
As the No. 4-ranked Dickinson High boys basketball team worked tirelessly to upend the No. 3-ranked Bismarck Century Patriots on Tuesday, DHS head coach Dan Glasser saw his players performing on all individual cylinders, and the Midgets were rewarded with a 73-59 victory at DHS gymnasium.
"Everyone did what they were great at," Glasser said. "It was a night where everyone did what they were supposed to do."
Led by 26 points from senior guard Aanen Moody and 20 points and 16 rebounds from senior center Jordan Meidinger, the Midgets took a healthy lead in the second half, only to see it dwindle. Dickinson (7-1, 6-1 West Region) buckled down and held off the Patriots, though, sending them to 7-2 overall and their second West Region loss.
"I think for a few minutes there, we fell into the same rut that we fell into against Minot when we had a lead and just kept turning it over and not even getting shot attempts," Glasser said, "and then it just kind of clicked for them. They're such a smart group of kids, and they learn from their mistakes well."
That "click" came with about six minutes to play in the game. The Midgets took a 39-29 lead into halftime and opened the second half with a 10-1 run, opening up their largest lead at 19 points with 14 minutes left.
The Patriots wouldn't go quietly and trimmed to lead down to six points before Dickinson regrouped around the six-minute mark. Century never threatened again.
"We worked really well together. We communicated well as a team, both offensively and defensively," said Meidinger, who also had four blocks. "We had a little slump in the second half, but we worked through it. We started to jump out on the ball a little bit more."
Aside from Moody and Meidinger's contributions, the Midgets created a well-rounded attack — going back to Glasser's notion of everybody filling their roles.
Senior Cam Jorda poured in 10 points, Shawn Steffan hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with nine points and Eli Jung grabbed 11 rebounds.
"Cam, he gets to the basket very well. He does a tremendous job on the defensive end," Glasser said. "Shawn's hitting threes, Chase (Ballard) is hitting threes, Tanner (Ouellette) is hitting threes. They're going to get those open looks, and they knocked them down."
The teams matched each other nearly bucket-for-bucket in the first half with neither team leading by more than five until a small five-point burst from Meidinger created some separation; inside a minute to play, Moody drove the baseline and flipped a nifty pass behind his head to Meidinger, who finished the play and hit the free throw after being fouled, and then he scored on the next possession for a 10-point halftime lead.
Josh Sipes led Century with 23 points, but no other Patriot scored in double-figures; however, his fellow starters — Jayden Hauff, Kade Lynch, Lucas Mayer and Kade Amundson — all scored either eight or nine points. Nate Symens provided the only scoring — a 3-pointer — off the bench for Century.
Adding to the emotions of the win and the resolve his team showed, Glasser was proud with Meidinger's performance, during which he controlled the paint on both ends.
"Jordan's best night I've seen him play basketball," he said. "He really dominated the area, and that's what we needed from him. They really tried to get him out of the paint, and when they did he got back in and protected the rim well. Even posting up, you could tell just by the way he was on the block, he wanted the ball, and he wanted to make an impact on the game. If he does that every game, you can see how dominant he can be."
Meidinger, for his part, said he felt at ease against a somewhat shorter host of Century defenders, and that allowed him to do his damage.
"I felt a little more comfortable. It seemed like tonight there was more room for me to work a little bit more," he said. "I just got the ball and went back to my senses of practice in trying to finish the best that I can."
Dickinson High 73, Bismarck Century 59
BC: Josh Sipes 23, Jayden Hauff 9, Kade Lynch 8, Lucas Mayer 8, Kade Amundson 8, Nate Symens 3.
DHS: Aanen Moody 26, Jordan Meidinger 20, Cam Jorda 10, Shawn Steffan 9, Chase Ballard 3, Tanner Ouellette 3, Eli Jung 2.