Miners bound for postseason success: Ripping off ten constructive wins, Beulah boys gear for playoff run
The words "sixteen offensive rebounds" shouted from Miners head coach Jeremy Brandt echo throughout the Beulah High School gymnasium during a boys basketball team practice on Thursday, Feb. 8.
After the backup team hauled in an offensive rebound in practice against the starters, Brandt halted the action, repeatedly reminding his players the amount of boards relinquished to their opponent on the offensive glass in a recent game against Shiloh Christian.
Because despite owning the best record in Region 7, Brandt understands there are weaknesses his team needs to clean up.
"We need to get better rebounding the ball," Brandt said. "We've had stretches where we've rebounded the ball really well, but then the other night against Shiloh, didn't rebound very well at all. We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. Throughout the year, I can kind of look back and when we've struggled, some of that is a direct result of that, giving up a lot of offensive rebounds. That's something that impacts our success and will impact our success as we move along."
While no team is flawless, Beulah has found a multitude of ways to win. The Miners are the only undefeated team in Region 7 and are currently sporting a 13-3 record overall.
"We haven't been turning the ball over a lot," Brandt said. "That's one of the things that's been good this stretch where we've won some games. We've limited our turnovers and our shooting percentage, we've been shooting the ball well....When we play well offensively, it really carries over with us playing with more intensity and more energy on the defensive end too."
Victorious in their last 10 games, the Miners have trampled their opponents during that stretch.
Winning by an average margin of 19.2 points per game, Beulah has captured eight wins by double digits.
Road victories over regional foe Hettinger-Scranton (63-59 on Jan. 9) and Shiloh Christian, the No. 8 in the latest Class B poll (83-77 on Feb. 6) have been the closest games within the Miners' winning streak.
"We've started to play better defense, getting more ball pressure" senior guard Derek Ferebee said. "At the beginning of the season, we didn't necessarily play as hard as we've like. As the season went on, we started to do our pressing stuff. We started getting easy baskets and that got us to shoot well."
Beulah's performance this year has been spurred on in part to it's recent postseason disappointment.
The Miners' 2016-17 campaign ended just inches away from a state tournament appearance after Ferebee's potential game-tying 3-pointer bounced off the mark during a 67-64 lost to Dickinson Trinity in last season's Region 7 championship game.
"Ever since we lost that championship game last year, right after that game we were like 'Next year, we want to get them,'" senior forward Logan Miller said. "We want revenge and it felt good beating them in the regular season, but now we hope to carry on into the regional tournament."
The Miners last two seasons ended at the regional championship game, but it's the vivid memories of last season's crushing conclusion that remains fresh in the minds.
"I still remember, I was crying," Miller said. "But that just made us more motivated and hungrier to come back, get them and hopefully make states this year."