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Trinity holds off, upsets No. 8-ranked Hazen

Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity senior Austin Deichert goes up for a layup against Hazen during a Region 7 game on Saturday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. The Titans upset the No. 8-ranked Bison 59-57.

“That felt like a tournament game.”

Those were the first words Dickinson Trinity boys head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said after the Region 7 game against No. 8-ranked Hazen.

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He wasn’t kidding either.

The Titans used an all-around effort to upset and edge the Bison 59-57 on Saturday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

“I thought both teams really got after each other,” Grinsteinner said. “We knew for us to compete that we were going to have a very solid team defensive game. I thought we did.”

Hazen head coach Randy Johnson added: “Trinity is an up and coming team. They are going to be tough to beat. They are always tough to beat, especially on their home floor.”

Trinity held a slim two-point, 28-26, lead over Hazen going into halftime. The game was going to come down to whichever team could make big shots at the end.

However, for the Titans (6-5, 3-0 Region 7) to get there, they had to break out of the second half starting funk, which has plagued them against some of the top teams in the state. Trinity withstood the third taking a three-point, 47-44, lead going into the final 8 minutes of play.

The Titans drained big shot after big shot in the final 2 minutes. After Hazen’s Austin Cieslak — who finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds — supplied a layup to tie the game at 53, Willy Jahner drained a 3-pointer as time expired on the shot clock to give Trinity a 56-53 lead. The Trinity sophomore guard finished with nine points and three assists.

“We had a couple possessions and we told the kids that it’s OK if we run the shot clock down,” Grinsteinner said. “(Hazen) can’t score if they don’t have the ball. We a couple of good looks at the end of shot clocks and we were fortunate enough to hit a couple of shots.”

The Bison (11-2, 5-1 Region 7) continued to fight back, but Trinity junior forward Joe Mayer answered the call with 25 seconds remaining with a 3-pointer to give his team a 59-54 lead.

“We hit a lot of big shots,” said Mayer, who finished with a team-high 15 points and three rebounds. “We needed production out of everybody today. Our young guys, bench and starters all had to show up today and play well.”

Hazen scored its final points on a Kyle Lindquist three-point play. The Bison had one final opportunity on a desperation 3-point shot as time expired, but it didn’t hit the basket.

Though it didn’t always result in points, the Titans received contributions from everyone which stepped onto the floor. As a team, the Titans were 25 of 58 (43 percent) from the field.

Brett Mortenson supplied 10 points and eight rebounds, while Shawn Stoltz added nine points and six rebounds. Austin Deichert posted eight assists, six points and four steals. Cole Wilhelmi chipped in six points, four assists and three steals.

“Everybody fit into their role well and that’s how we can play” Mayer said.

Wyatt Carr had 19 points and six rebounds for the Bison, while Lindquist ended with 10 points. Hazen finished 23 of 55 (42 percent) from the field. Johnson felt his team didn’t capitalized on easy chances.

“We have our opportunities,” he said. “We missed a lot of bunnies inside. There were times that we didn’t play the same type of defense that we’d expect.”

The Titans are on the road for the next three games against Region 7 opponents. The road trip starts with Glen Ullin-Hebron at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Though Trinity just defeated the No. 8-ranked team in the state, Grinsteinner said his team can’t look past anyone, because every team in Region 7 is going to be tough.

“We can’t overlook anything right now,” Grinsteinner said. “If we go down and lay an egg in Glen Ullin on Tuesday, this win didn’t mean anything. This is about regional games right now.”

Hazen 10 26 44 57

Trinity 11 28 47 59

H: Austin Cieslak 20, Wyatt Carr 19, Kyle Lindquist 10, Dominick Opp 3, Collin Maas 2, Nich Klein 2, Josh Erhardt 1.

T: Joe Mayer 15, Brett Mortenson 10, Shawn Stoltz 9, Willy Jahner 9, Cole Wilhelmi 6, Austin Deichert 6, Brock Messer 4.

3-pointers: H 2 (Opp 1, Carr 1), T 4 (Jahner 3, Mayer 1). Free throws: H 9-15, T 5-10. Total fouls: H 15, T 10. Fouled out: H, Doll. T, Mortenson. Rebounds: H 35 (Cieslak 15), T 32 (Mortenson 8). Assists: H 11 (three tied with two), T 16 (Deichert 8). Steals: H 13 (Lindquist 3), T 13 (Deichert 4). Blocks: H 1 (Cieslak), T 0. Turnovers: H 14, T 13. Records: H 11-2 (5-1 Region 7), T 6-5 (3-0 Region 7).