Most people celebrated the new year by watching the ball drop with their friends and family and not worrying about business.
The Dickinson State men's basketball team celebrated the new year focused on taking care of business in Idaho against one of the best teams in the NAIA. The only ball they cared about watching drop was the one going into the basket.
While the team had two losses against the undefeated No. 7 Lewis-Clark state college, the 3-8 Blue Hawks finished 2020 with a narrow 89-85 loss to the 6-0 Warriors.
Less than 24 hours after its first matchup, the Blue Hawks battled the Warriors yet again. With only a nine-man roster and some fatigue from the battle the night before, Dickinson State ended its first game of 2021 with a 86-68 loss.
Despite the loss, with two back-to-back games that were only recently added to the schedule, Head Coach Derek Selvig was proud of his player's battle within the two games.
"I'm super proud of our guys man," Selvig said. "We're running around with nine guys, rotations aren't very deep. Guys that played 30-plus minutes last night and they come out here and compete again, just didn't get the shots to fall like we did yesterday."
After having 36 points, seven rebounds, and two assist on Friday night, the Blue Hawks were going to heavily rely on the efforts of senior Bryce Knox yet again on Friday. But after playing 37 out of 40 minutes less than 24 hours ago, the senior guard battled some fatigue by playing another 33 minutes on Friday, only able to score 14 points, three rebounds and four assists and had some struggles with the basketball with seven turnovers.
After only scoring five points the previous night, sophomore Trey Hladky did his best to help Knox on Friday with 15 points on 55% shooting, hitting four of his seven 3-pointers and recording one rebound and steal.
"It's pretty hard to ask a guy to do what he did last night in back-to-back games, we need more guys to step up and take some of the scoring load off his shoulders," Selvig said.
Despite the loss, Selvig believes there were some strong positives in the back-to-back games that will help the team win in the future.
"We're figuring it out, we're trying to find an identity and I think that these two games, coming out here this far and playing a team like this really helped us, I think it did," Selvig said. "We didn't win either game, but I think we got better, I think our guys are starting to see some of the things our staff is preaching and I think it's going to come together pretty quick."
This is the third and fourth time this season Dickinson State has played a ranked NAIA team, the first and second being to Carroll College. The Blue Hawks have also played against one NCAA Division I team in its 78-51 loss to the University of Montana. While the team has been unable to record a win against any of its ranked opponents, the team will have strong confidence going into its upcoming conference schedule.
"We're very fortunate to continue to play games and play the teams that we have," Selvig said. "It's an awesome thing, awesome experience, I'm glad that we're playing great teams because we're finding holes in what we do and we just got to keep adjusting and keep tweaking and our guys are getting great experience."
Following its postponed game against Yellowstone Christian College, the Blue Hawks are scheduled to kick off its NSAA conference schedule on the road against Bellevue University on Jan. 8.