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Dickinson High boys basketball coach Dean Winczewski said his team's 2-0 start is exactly what it is - just two games. "Regardless of what happens in the regular season, it's the (postseason) tournament that matters," Winczewski said. "You play a...

Dickinson High boys basketball coach Dean Winczewski said his team's 2-0 start is exactly what it is - just two games.

"Regardless of what happens in the regular season, it's the (postseason) tournament that matters," Winczewski said. "You play a game in December and don't play well, you want to blow it out of proportion. You have to put together three good games in March, that's what matters."

The Midgets will try to remain undefeated against visiting Williston at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Dickinson High School gymnasium in both teams' West Region openers.

Dickinson's two victories have come on far different terms. The Midgets opened the season with a 55-52 victory over Dawson County (Mont.), a game in which they led by 13 at halftime. They followed that up by thoroughly dominating Custer County (Mont.) 71-26. The Midgets had four players in double figures.

According to Winczewski, the Midgets' tenacious defense has been a nice surprise, considering the defending state champions relied on outscoring their opponents much of last year. They even welcomed back two of their best shooters.


"Last year, we wanted to try and outscore our opponents and get a enough defensive stops," Winczewski said. "This year, our kids have really bought into taking care of things defensively and worry about the defensive end of the floor."

With defense being this year's focus point, Winczewski hopes his kids can slowly develop an offense that uses all phases of the game. Senior guards Jake Bauer and Taylor Bruhschwein are the team's leading returning scorers from last year and are dangerous from the 3-point line. However, with the graduation of all-state point guard Marcus Fridley, Winczewski has had to take Bauer away from his natural position and turn him into a point guard. Essentially, Bruhschwein and Bauer play the same position, and Winczewski said he hopes he can find a natural point guard on the roster.

"We need to find some stability at the point," Winczewski said. "Jake is doing an admirable job, but he's not a point guard."

Winczewski said he intends to stay with his starting lineup of five seniors: Bauer, Bruhschwein, John Hanstad, Derek Hoyt and Tyler Steffan. However, the emergence of freshman Joe Hanstad has meant plenty of playing time for the young gun. Hanstad leads the team in scoring after two games, despite not being the leading scorer in either game. He had 13 points against Dawson County and 12 versus Custer County.

"He's doing things very well," Winczewski said. "He could actually stand to be more aggressive. He's learning the changes from junior-high basketball to varsity, but he's picked it up pretty well. He's logging a lot of minutes."

For Winczewski and his players who were on last year's varsity squad, tonight's game won't be just a home-opener; there will certainly be a revenge factor. Dedicated fans might remember the 24-point drubbing Williston handed the Midgets a year ago when Mr. Basketball Brian Qvale proved to be unstoppable.

Though the Midgets paid them back with a last-second 3-pointer from Bruhschwein in a win at Williston, the memory of getting thumped at home in what was almost a perfect season for the Midgets won't be lost on most of the players.

"I know some of the kids remember how poorly we played," Winczewski said. "They put a good old-fashioned butt-stompin' on us, but it's one of those things. They have different kids now and we have different kids. Some of the kids who got some time will look at it and say 'I don't know if we want that to happen again.'"


While Dickinson won't have to worry about stopping the 6-foot-11 Qvale who is playing at the University of Montana, another Qvale could cause the Midgets some matchup problems. Brother Brent, who is a two-time all-state offensive lineman, is 6-5 and close to 300 pounds. He's averaging 22 points a game from the center position.

"Tyler will get him first and we're going to rotate Derek and Ridgeley (Kraft) in and hope we can wear him out," Winczewski said. "(Qvale) isn't just athletic for being 300 pounds. He's athletic for being athletic."

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