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PREP NOTEBOOK: Defense still leads the way for Scranton

The Scranton girls basketball team hasn't veered off the path that is most likely to bring the Miners success.

Defense has, again, been a strong point for Scranton, which has a 10-4 record and owns wins over rivals Hettinger and Bowman County, though the latter game didn't count for district play.

Scranton coach Kelly Pierce said things are falling into place.

"We're starting to play pretty well as a team," Pierce said. "We hang our hat on our defense every night."

That's become evident. Not long after Bowman County knocked off a ranked opponent in New England, the Miners held the Bulldogs to a season-low point total in a 35-18 victory. Scranton's four losses came from Harding County (S.D.), Beach, New England and Hettinger, which the Miners avenged last week.

"We've been in every game that we've lost," Pierce said. "We'll continue to work hard to get better."

Pierce said the return of Chaundra Wolf and Jessie Ehlers this season has helped spark the team. Ehlers tore her ACL last season, and Wolf returned after making a move to Texas.

"As a team, we knew we were capable of beating anybody," Pierce said. "I think when (other coaches) put us in the (preseason) rankings, they didn't realize how much talent those two girls had. ... They've added quite a scoring punch."

Regardless of how far Scranton comes on offense by season's end, Pierce said he expects the defense to be there game in and game out.

"We put a lot of time on our defense," Pierce said. "We spend 50 percent of our practice on defense. That's more than a lot of teams do."

Big dual at Dickinson High School

The Dickinson High wrestling team has a big match against Bismarck Century at 6:30 p.m. today.

A win for Dickinson High could help its cause in making the state dual tournament, though that could be tough. The Patriots are one of the three top teams in the West Region, the other two being Bismarck High and Williston.

The Midgets are in the midst of a fight for the fourth and final state dual spot with Mandan. Dickinson coach Cody Wolf said there's a good chance the final spot could be determined when the Midgets go to Mandan for their final dual of the regular season on Feb. 5.

"It's looking like if we lose, they're in and if they lose, we're in," Wolf said.

Make-up game rescheduled for today

Most years, New Town and Dickinson Trinity would have already played their girls basketball game by now.

However, weather forced New Town to postpone and the game has been rescheduled for today at approximately 7:30 p.m.

The Titans are coming off a loss to Beach that dropped their record to 9-4 on the season.

The Dickinson Trinity boys will resurrect their season after a long layoff. They play host to Beach next Tuesday, which will mark their first game since they beat District 14 rival Hazen on Jan. 20.

The Titans (8-1) are ranked fifth in the latest Class B poll.

Ready for 'home' stretch

Home field advantage is always nice

Home teams get fan support and the competitors get to sleep in their own beds.

The Dickinson High gymnastics team sits in a good spot as the Midgets host three of their last five meets of the regular season, the first of which starts Saturday at 11 a.m. at Dickinson High School.

The Midgets go to Minot the week after for the Kim Lupo Memorial and follow that with another home meet to end the regular season. On Feb. 16, the WDA meet takes place in Jamestown and then, every team heads to Dickinson for the Class A state meet on Feb. 27-28.

Revenge for a game-winner

On Jan. 6, the Bismarck Century boys basketball team came to Dickinson and shocked the Midgets when Garret Jacobs hit a runner off the glass to win 71-69.

The Midgets (5-4) are looking for revenge when they play to Bismarck Century (6-4) today.

Dickinson sophomore Joe Hanstad leads the state in scoring at almost 25 points per game and point guard Jarl Abrahamson leads in assists with 6.5 per game.

Jacobs leads Century at 14 points per game.

The Dickinson High girls basketball team would also like some redemption after an ugly loss to Century earlier this season.

The Midgets are coming off of a 72-69 win over fifth-ranked Belcourt that ended a four-game losing streak, which was started when the Patriots topped Dickinson 79-46.

Hazen downs No. 4 Turtle Lake-Mercer

Hazen senior Chad Marshall poured in 24 points to help the Bison topple No. 4-ranked Turtle Lake-Mercer 65-63 on Tuesday night.

Marshall had three 3-pointers and got help from Joe Westman, who added 14 points. Clay Brinkman (12) and Baylee Carr (10) were also in double figures. Marshall is a two-time all-state selection.

First-team all-state guard Cameron Malzer had a game-high 27 points in the loss.

The Trojans (8-2) led by three after the first quarter and the game was tied at halftime. Hazen (7-3) had a two-point lead at the end of the third, which proved to be the margin of victory.