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Bearcats capitalize on mistakes: Reigning Region 7 champs top Titans in regular season finale

Glen Ullin-Hebron junior Lexi Gietzen puts the ball on net with Dickinson Trinity junior Masy Kuntz guarding. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)1 / 2
Dickinson Trinity senior Josie Glaser takes a wide-open shot from behind the three-point arc. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)2 / 2

In its final game of the regular season, the Dickinson Trinity girls basketball team was tested by the 2017 Region 7 champion, Glen Ullin-Hebron. Meanwhile, the Bearcats wanted to end the season on a win after a three-game losing streak.

Hampered by poor shooting at the foul line and too many turnovers, the Titans fell to the Bearcats 58-48 on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"Little things added up to big things," Dickinson Trinity coach Carter Fong said. "I thought they won a couple more 50-50 balls. We had trouble finding our defensive matchups at times and they exploited it every time we were confused."

Down 44-26 with about two minutes left in the third, Titans freshman forward Abbey Kubas triggered a surge of energy with consecutive baskets, drawing a foul on the second. While she missed the three-point chance, Titans junior Bre Tessier scored with the rebound in the final second of the quarter, evoking cheers from the Dickinson Trinity faithful.

"It felt good," Kubas said of the moment. "I felt like we were on a roll and we could definitely come back and win the game."

Kubas scored all eight of her points in the second half, but struggled from the foul line, going 0-for-10. The Titans sunk just seven of their 20 attempts from the charity stripe while the Bearcats went 20-of-29.

The Titans tightened up on defense in the final frame, stealing the ball twice in the first minute, triggering a Glen Ullin-Hebron timeout.

Senior guard/forward Jordie McNeilly got her second basket of the game, bringing the Titans within 10, but Bearcat eighth grader Kinsey Zuroff answered with a 3-pointer, her second of the night.

Scoring 16 points, the Titans were at their best in the fourth quarter, but Glen Ullin-Hebron piled on 14 points to maintain their lead.

"We had to have this one. We've been on a three-game losing skid and we needed something to get us pushed back in the right direction going into Friday night," Glen Ullin-Hebron coach Bray Fox said. "Hopefully this will be the nice shot that we need to get back into things."

In the first half, senior guard Josie Glaser kept the Titans alive, scoring 17 of the teams 19 points with the help of five 3-pointers. She finished the night with a team-high 24 points.

"Josie found her spots against their zone (defense)," Fong said. "In the beginning of the game they played her pretty straight up. I thought in the second half they made some adjustments to get her covered. We were looking for other guards to hit shots from the perimeter. We tried several different combinations but Josie was our one constant and she really lit it up."

Down 11-8 after the first quarter, Titans senior Megan Krebs opened the second half with two free throws. However, the Bearcats followed with a 17-3 run and led 30-19 at the half.

Junior Lexi Gietzen and senior Kennedy Zuroff led the Bearcats with 17 points a piece, with senior Kiana Schatz adding 15. The three have accounted for most of the teams points all season.

"I don't go very deep on the bench," Fox said. "I only go six deep and that's part of player development. Some of my girls aren't quite ready for that level up here."

Fox said he's more than confident those players can handle the minutes in the Region 7 tournament next week.

"We're used to iron five," he said. "We've been playing this way for the last four seasons now where we only dipped one or two into the bench. Those girls know they need to be ready to roll for four quarters."

The Titans will face Beach on Friday, Feb. 16 in a play-in game to determine who will advance to the tournament. Frustration appeared in Kubas and her teammates in the closing minutes of the game, something they'll have to reign in in the coming games.

"We have great competitors. There's a fire that burns deep in those girls but that energy has to be channeled in the right direction," Fong said. "We're not really looking at the bracket at this point. We're looking at a one game season the rest of the way and I think they do understand that composure is huge at tournament time and we're going to have to be at our best."

Glen Ullin-Hebron 58, Dickinson Trinity 48

GUH 11 19 14 14

DT 8 11 13 16

GUH: Lexi Gietzen 17, Kennedy Zuroff 17, Kiana Schatz 15, Kinsey Zuroff 6, Taizalee Glass 3.

DT: Josie Glaser 24, Abbey Kubas 8, Alexa Walby 6, Jordie McNeilly 6, Megan Krebs 2, Bre Tessier 2.

3-pointers: GUH 4 (Kinsey Zuroff 2), DT 7 (Glaser 6). Free throws: GUH 20-29, DT 7-20. Total fouls: GUH 13, DT 20. Fouled out: GUH , DT McNeilly. Records: GUH 13-7 (Region 7 7-4), DT 10-11 (Region 7 4-7).