Sam covers Dickinson State athletics for The Press. He is a native of Somerville, Massachusetts, where President Barack Obama once lived, and is a 2015 graduate of Emerson College in Boston. He likes basketball, newspapers, Gil Scott Heron and sneakers, among a few other things. Before The Press, he worked as an assistant in the sports department at The Boston Globe.
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The Dickinson High girls basketball team, playing Williston in the West Region play-in game at home Saturday night, scratched and clawed the entire second half to give itself a chance at the end. And when the Midgets finally pulled within striking distance of the Coyotes, they took full advantage. Lexi Jordheim's three-pointer with 17 seconds left gave the Midgets (6-16, 3-13) a 57-55 lead—their first since it was 5-3 in the opening minutes of the game. Then, on the next Williston (3-13, 2-11) possession, she came up with a steal.
A week after losing by 20 points to Jamestown at Scott Gymnasium, Dickinson State men's basketball flipped the script, beating the Jimmies 83-65 to advance to the finals of the North Star Athletic Association postseason tournament. The Blue Hawks will travel to Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb. on Monday for the championship game. Marcus White led the with 18 for the Blue Hawks, while Dontae Clark added 11 and Gilberto Shojgreen Jr. had 10. This is the first time since 2004 that the Blue Hawks have advanced to the conference title game.
KILLDEER — Dickinson Trinity, playing Killdeer on the road in its final regular season game, fell behind the Cowboys 14-9 after one quarter but stormed back the rest of the way for an eventual 71-60 victory. Killdeer also led by five at the half, but the Titans outscored the Cowboys by 16 combined in the third and fourth quarter, securing a double-digit win. Easton Walby led the way for Trinity with 19, Alex Scherr had 16 and Lucas Jones had 12.
FARGO — The Dickinson High boys hockey team had its season end Friday with a 4-1 loss to Fargo Davies in a consolation game of the state tournament. The Midgets, who lost 10-0 to Grand Forks Central on Thursday, went 0-2 in the state tournament after entering as the fourth seed out of the West Region.
All that grit and grind, and it came down to a few defensive rebounds. Dickinson State, outplayed soundly in the North Star Athletic Association conference semifinals by Valley City State for most of the game Friday, staged a furious comeback that started at the 1:49 mark of the fourth quarter, down nine points. With the help of the loudest and most boisterous student section all season, the Blue Hawks scored seven unanswered to bring it within two points with 26.9 seconds left, when Viking guard Hannah Schlecht was fouled.
During halftime of Thursday night's men's basketball game between Dickinson State and Waldorf College, Dickinson State football player and track and field athlete Seth Moerkerke got a free haircut. Moerkerke held a raffle where anyone at the game could buy a ticket, all with a chance to buzz his hair. The proceeds, which came out to over $400, all went toward the medical bills of a young girl close to Moerkerke currently fighting cancer. The raffle ticket winner was DSU president Thomas Mitzel.
The problem for Dickinson State the last time these two teams played in the regular season were the free throws. In a tight one on Jan. 21 that Dickinson State could have closed out on numerous occasions, the Blue Hawks instead bricked numerous foul shots, leaving open a window for Waldorf's Kaden Verdin to nail an improbable three-point shot to send it overtime, where the Blue Hawks eventually held on to win.
Dickinson State's Mark Graupe is no fan of stat sheets, but after his Blue Hawks' 59-45 conference tournament win Wednesday against Dakota State at home, even if he had to address the elephant in the room.
To just move on, pack up, and start cramming film on Waldorf, Dickinson State's first-round opponent today in the North Star conference tournament, would have seemed a little bit coarse. To right away file this up-and-down regular season of fresh faces and buzzer-beaters away as the past would have been premature. To those outside the coaching staff and players of Dickinson State, Saturday might not have seemed too much out of the ordinary.
The Dickinson State women's basketball team this season has been like a leaky wall. Plug up one player for five, and another goes for 15. When one has a cold night, another has a hot one. "You can't key in on one single player," said Ashley Bentz-Laub. "Being on a team where four, five, six people score in double-figures, it's kind of a unique dynamic." The title of leading scorer is essentially shared, with Bentz-Laub (12.8), Megan Klein (12.4), Lorna Shepherd (12) and Taylor Henningsgard (12.4) all averaging within .8 points of each other.