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Bucs, Titans meet for title: For 2nd straight year, No. 7-ranked Beach plays Dickinson Trinity for Region 7 championship

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity sophomore forward Kennedy Keator, middle, dribbles against Beach senior Cid Stedman, left, and sophomore Brooklyn Zachmann during a Region 7 game on Jan. 16 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. For the second straight season, the Buccaneers and Titans meet in the Region 7 championship game at 7:30 p.m. today at DHS gymnasium.

The top seed Beach and No. 2 seed Dickinson Trinity girls basketball teams know each other quite well.

Over the last two years, the only team in Region 7 that has kept up with the “Running Bucs” is the Titans.

No. 7-ranked Beach has won the previous two meetings — this year’s regular-season game and last season’s Region 7 title game — by one and 20 points, respectively.

“We’ve talked about how important every single possession is,” Trinity head coach Alysia Barman said. “We have to make sure that if we turn the ball over, we have to do something positive on the defensive end. After (the 55-54 Beach win), we kept telling our kids that we had the ball at the end and we gave ourselves an opportunity. Now there’s doubt in our mind. What if this or what if that? We kept telling them, ‘Leave no doubt.’ When we step on the floor, we want to give our best performance.

“If we leave no doubt, win or lose, we can’t be disappointed.”

Bob Waldal, the Buccaneers’ head coach, knows the Region 7 championship game at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Dickinson High School gymnasium is going to be a battle.

“We know full well that it’s going to be a hard-fought game,” he said. “I hope both teams play well and it’s a good game.”

For the past four years, Beach has represented Region 7 in the North Dakota Class B state tournament. The Buccaneers won a state title in 2010 and finished fifth, third and sixth in the following three years.

Needless to say, the Titans know the road to the state tournament runs through Beach.

“Beach is a really good team, but we never know how we are going to play in the present,” Trinity sophomore forward Brianna Soehren said. “We always have to come with intensity and play our hearts out. Otherwise, they could come and beat us by 20. We still need to go out with intensity and play our game.”

During the four-year state tournament run, the Buccaneers have had three players at the forefront — seniors Hailee Farstveet, Cid Stedman and Bailey Waldal.

The three have combined for 81 points in the first two games of the Region 7 Tournament. The Buccaneers are 21-2 and are winning by an average of 22.1 points per game.

Trinity (19-4) is receiving a balanced effort as four players have scored in double figures in the first two games of the Region 7 Tournament.

The Titans have 3-point specialist senior guard Rachel Jahner, who has seven 3’s in two games. During last year’s Region 7 semifinal game against Bowman County, Jahner showed there’s little teams can do to stop her if she gets going from 3-point range. She tied a state record with 10 3-pointers in a single game that night.

“It’s very exciting knowing about the game,” said Trinity senior guard Katelyn Grinsteinner, who posted a game-high 15 points in the semifinal win over Hazen on Tuesday. “Beach is a very good team and it’s really great to have the opportunity to play with teammates like I have. It’s really fun.”

Both coaches said after last year’s Region 7 Tournament — when Beach’s team was chock full of underclassmen and Trinity’s squad consisted of juniors and sophomores — there could be the possibility of the two teams meeting again a year later for the region title.

“That was something that we strive for during the summer and the kids got a taste of what it was like to play in that game,” Barman said. “Their work ethic during the summer definitely showed they wanted to be back here.”

Bob Waldal added: “All the preseason polls that the coaches received, they were picking both us to be the frontrunners. I figured that. It’s going to be a tough game.”