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Hazen returns host of experience

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Hazen senior Collin Maas, left, looks to pass during last year’s Region 7 Tournament on Feb. 25 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Maas is average 9.7 points per game.

The Hazen boys basketball team hasn’t had much trouble putting the pieces together.

The Bison are the No. 6-ranked team in Class B and all six of their wins have come by 16 points or more.

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Randy Johnson — who has been Hazen’s head coach for the past 21 years — said the players are continually getting better.

“We’ve been playing pretty well together and we’ve been doing some things really well,” he said. “There are some little things that we need to get better at to get us to that next level.”

Hazen has seven seniors on its roster, including 6-foot-3 center Austin Cieslak. He helped the Bison win back-to-back Class 1A state football titles and is a tough, physical presence in the paint. Cieslak is averaging 14.2 points per game.

Though Cieslak controls the paint, Johnson said his biggest attribute is garnering the attention of other teams.

“Austin has been a good leader for us this year,” Johnson said. “A lot of opposing defenses have put tried to put multiple guys on him at opportune times. It has drawn a crowd away from other people and allowed those other people to have some pretty good nights.”

One player on Hazen’s roster who came into this season having seen with little playing time is freshman Wyatt Carr. The freshman is making a big impact so far, leading the Bison with 18.2 points per game.

“Wyatt has been around this group of kids a lot,” Johnson said. “He stepped in and played pretty well during the football season. Any type of varsity experience in any athletic level helps you. He also spent a lot of time on his basketball game.”

As a team, the Bison are averaging 77.2 points per game while allowing 53.3. Hazen continues its season traveling to Minot Ryan at 5:30 Friday.

Johnson knows the Bison aren’t where they want to be now, but are taking the necessary steps to become a better team.

“It has definitely been a plus to have the amount of returners back this year,” he said. “They are wanting to excel and do well. The work ethic has been good. The kids have been playing and practicing hard.”

Beulah learning new roles, taking ownership of team

Like many teams in Region 7 last year, the Beulah boys basketball team graduated a wealth of seniors who supplied a majority of their statistics.

This year, Miners head coach Jeremy Brandt is looking for other players to take on larger roles.

“We’ve got a long ways to go to be where we want to be,” he said. “We are still trying to find an identity, because we have so many new kids — players with lack of varsity experience. The kids are trying to take a little ownership of the team, because they are taking on different roles than what they had in the past. It’s been a little bit of slow start for us in that respect.”

Beulah is 1-1 with a win over Center-Stanton and a loss to No. 5-ranked Linton-HMB.

The upcoming schedule for the Miners doesn’t get any easier. Beulah plays No. 2-ranked Four Winds-Minnewaukan on Friday and No. 4-ranked Rugby at 6 p.m. Saturday.

“We have our work cut out for us this week,” Brandt said.

Though the Miners have many new faces, a couple players returned with varsity experience.

Junior Jett Hettich is averaging 12.5 points per game and senior Randi Julson is supplying 12 points a game. Sophomore forward Casey Walcker is supplying 10.5 points a night.

“It’s such a different role for those kids too, because they were a little bit more on the backburner,” Brandt said. “They didn’t have to do a lot offensively because the seniors did most of that. Our effort has been good, but we have some things we need to improve on.”

Midgets girls hockey team learning how to win

Winning is one area the Dickinson High girls hockey team hasn’t seen much of in the past two seasons.

Through eight games this season, however, the Midgets have already equaled their win total from the previous two seasons. Dickinson is 2-6 wins over Devils Lake and Sidney, Mont.

Still, Dickinson head coach Al Tackle said the team needs to learn what it takes to win day in and day out. The Midgets go after their third win when they travel to Watford City at 4:15 p.m. today.

“We are looking forward to heading up to Watford and start taking steps forward,” he said.

The Midgets have also had their fair share of tough defeats — the biggest coming on Dec. 12 against Mandan.

Kayla Wallace scored a goal in both the first and second periods to help Dickinson take a 2-0 lead. The Braves countered for four unanswered goals in the third period.

“We were up 2-0 going into the third period and we haven’t been in that position before. What do we have to do to win those games against teams that are similar competition,” Takle asked. “That’s a huge thing to move forward. We are learning how to win and that’s a big deal.”

Wallace and Rachel Lantz, who are both juniors on the same top line, lead the team with six points. Wallace has five goals and one assist, and Lantz has added five assists and one goal.

Junior Kennadee Fritz and sophomore Kira Zastoupil each have five points with four goals and one assist.

Senior goalie Paige Fahlstrom has seen a majority of the time in the net. She has a save percentage of 87.6.

Dickinson boys hockey team using short memory

Whether it is a win or a loss, a goal scored or a goal allowed, Dickinson High boys head hockey coach Dallas Kuntz said his team has to have the same mentally — have short memory and move on.

After opening up with a 3-1 record, the Midgets have lost four straight games.

Dickinson looks to get back on the winning page when it travels to Watford City at 6:30 p.m. today.

“They have to have short memories, whether it is a goal scored on us or we score a goal, we have to get next goal,” Kuntz said.

The biggest key for the Midgets after the first eight games is skating a full 51 minutes. Kuntz said the Midgets’ downfall in the last four games has been the second period.

Dickinson led Minot 2-0 lead after the first period but allowed the Magicians to score four unanswered goals over the next 34 minutes to take a 4-2 win.

“Our last three games, we took the second period off,” Kuntz said. “We are starting and finishing strong, but in the middle, the boys have to realize that they have to play three full periods. That’s what I’ve been stressing them.”

The Midgets aren’t shy of goal scorers this season.

Senior forward Alex Turcotte leads the team with eight goals and seven assists, while junior forward Matt Pavek has six goals and six assists. Sophomore Michael McChesney has six goals and five assists.

Of the team’s 18 forwards and defensemen, 13 have tallied at least one point for Dickinson this season. But Kuntz said it isn’t all about scoring goals. The team needs to play tough defense to keep teams from scoring goals.

“As a team, they’ve made strides and getting chemistry on their lines,” he said. “They are all working together and passing the puck better. As far as effort goes, we have guys that are scoring goals and that’s the only thing they need do. Those guys know they need to step it up. They need to play and work hard on every shift.”