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Keeping Titan pride: Dickinson Trinity practices at Dickinson State’s Scott Gymnasium after school fire

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity girls basketball team talks after practice on Tuesday in Scott Gymnasium at Dickinson State.1 / 2
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity head coach Alysia Barman, right, watches the team practice on Tuesday in Scott Gymnasium at Dickinson State.2 / 2

The Dickinson Trinity girls basketball team didn’t have a school to attend or a home court to practice at Monday.

They didn’t even have their shoes or basketballs.

A Monday morning fire forced the school to close its doors — including the Knights of Columbus Activities Center, the site of the Region 7 Tournament — for the rest of the school year.

With the abrupt loss of their home court, the Titans have been given permission to practice in Scott Gymnasium at Dickinson State University. Trinity remains the host of the Region 7 Tournament, though the venue has been changed to the Dickinson High School gymnasium. The region quarterfinals begin at 3 p.m. Monday.

“It’s definitely been one of the biggest challenges that I’ve had to face as far as my responsibilities as the head coach,” Trinity head coach Alysia Barman said after Tuesday’s practice. “We came together on Monday and met as a group. We’ve had a lot of people step up and be very generous to us.

“We’ve had to adjust our schedules. Our days aren’t regular, but we are a Titan family. That’s the most important thing right now is that we stick together. We are proud of who we are.”

Dickinson Trinity Principal Thomas J. Sander on Tuesday was charged with arson and endangerment by fire in connection to the blaze. Both are Class B felonies.

Trinity senior point guard Rachel Jahner said it was a surreal moment when a couple of the students drove past Trinity on Monday morning.

“It was weird,” she said. “You never think your school is going to start on fire. It was tough. That’s where I grew up since I was little.”

Senior guard Katelyn Grinsteinner, Barman and Jahner both echoed the kindness and generosity DSU and Dickinson High have shown.

“What happened is horrible, but it has been great to see all the support our community has given us and we are really grateful for that,” Grinsteinner said.

The No. 2 seed Titans (17-4) will practice at Scott Gymnasium for the rest of the week and begin the Region 7 Tournament at 6 p.m. Monday against No. 7 seed Hettinger-Scranton.

“We stressed on Monday how important it was to wake up at the same time, going to bed at the same time,” Barman said about the team maintaining a daily routine.

“Obviously, they don’t have the school routine.”

Trinity can’t enter its locker rooms, because of the fire damage to the school.

Luckily for the Titans, the team played New England on Friday night and brought their jerseys home. The only items Trinity had to order were 15 new pairs of basketball shoes, which will come in the mail today.

“I don’t have access to a basketball right now,” Barman said. “There are so many things that you never ever think about until something like this happens. It’s been a lot of emergency things, but again we’ve had great people step up and help us.”

With the distractions, the Titans are attempting to keep as much focus as possible on the task at hand — the Region 7 Tournament.

“With these upcoming games, it’s a big deal now,” Grinsteinner said. “We just have to keep in mind our goals and focus on the games coming up.”

Barman said the biggest lift for the Titans after the past two days has been the leadership from seniors Jillian Stockert, Molly Schweitzer, Jahner and Grinsteinner.

“We told our kids that there are a lot of things outside of our control at this point,” Barman said. “…There’s one thing that we do control right now and that’s our basketball season. We still need to focus on that and we need to control the little things that are in front of us right now.

“Our seniors have shown excellent leadership and they are during this time — this tragedy. They really get everybody on board and they’ve done it numerous times throughout the year and they are right now. Their mentality speaks a lot for our program.”