The Dickinson State girls basketball team got off to a hot start, but ended with a cold finish. Eventually falling to its NSAA foe Valley City 91-78.

The Blue Hawks were able to connect early from the 3-point range, and was able to lead the Vikings early on, but the Vikings tall bigs and consistent sharpshooting made a comeback very difficult. The team was able to rally back in the third after trailing by 17 points, but in the end was forced to take a 13-point loss.

“You could tell we got a little tired towards the end there in the third quarter,” head coach Eric Nelson said. “I thought our girls played extremely hard, we did all the things that we needed to do, we just gotta get a couple more shots, can’t give up 91 and win.”

Overall, Dickinson State was unable to match with Valley City’s bigs, which are mostly over 6 feet tall, being heavily out rebounded 50-28, and were unable to stop their scoring reign, shooting a solid 32-64 (50%) total, and nine total daggers. Compared to Dickinson State shooting 31-75 (41%) and going 12-for-38 (28%) from deep.

Dickinson State was led by junior forward Dakota Dosch who finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Along with solid play by the Blue Hawks starting guards senior Ashlie Larson and Ashlie Watts, both scoring 17 points and having a combined total of six rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Sydney Clark led the team in points with 19 and recorded eight assists and four rebounds.

“Give (Valley City) credit, their guards shot the ball so well, their posts are so tough, they’re bigger than we are, and I thought we did a great job battling their posts,” Nelson said.

Dickinson State had all the momentum to start the game out, starting with an 8-3 lead, but Valley City was always ready to counter and swiftly took a brief lead before a 3-pointer and an and-one by Clark tied the game at 14 and a beautiful floater by Larson gave the Blue Hawks the lead again.

The Blue Hawks were able to contest with the Vikings hot 6-of-8 3-point shooting in the first quarter and near the end a hard contested and-one lay-up by Clark ignited the team, and fans, and gave the Blue Hawks a 31-29 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Larson ignited the team with a 3-point bomb that seemed to be having the Blue Hawks going in the right direction, but a run by the Vikings put the team up 36-34 and seemed to never relinquish the lead again. Along with its continued 3-point shooting success, the Vikings were able to get the ball inside more often in the second quarter, forcing more free-throw possibilities and grasp its largest lead of the half 44-37.

Despite the Vikings hard fight, the Blue Hawks continued to get the deficit under double digits and took a 50-41 deficit into the half.

In the second half Valley City came out with a vengeance, dominating on the boards and making key plays on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Eventually taking a 58-41 lead, its largest of the game.

With nearly four minutes remaining in the third, a bucket by Larson and a lay-in by Clark brought the game back to within double-digits 63-56. And after a mid-range pull up jumper by junior Mckenzie Reed and a 3-point dagger by Watts, the Blue Hawks took a 67-64 deficit at the end of the third quarter, firing up Scott Gymnasium.

Shortly after the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Vikings began to get hot from the floor once again, and with the team down by 12 with less than four minutes to play, coach Murphy called a timeout to attempt to get the team back into the game, but the cold 3-point shooting by the Blue Hawks and hot shooting by the Vikings forced the team to fall 91-78.

Despite the loss, the Blue Hawks were able to get a slight taste for what the NSAA has to hold this season.

"It kinda stinks going oh-and-1 knowing that we won't have another conference game for another month," Nelson said. "It's good to kind of get that look (at NSAA) because now we really had to work hard on our post-defense and stuff like that, (Valley City) is a good team, hopefully we can get the film and ... continue to get better for the rest of the conference (and regular) season."

For now, the Blue Hawks are 3-7 overall and take a 0-1 blemish in conference play. The team will be able to take a break and will return to action in a non-conference road game against Montana State University-Billings on Dec. 15. The team will return NSAA conference play at home on Jan. 10 against Bellevue University.