Beulah heads back to state: Miners outlast Dickinson Trinity in double overtime thriller
HAZEN — For the Beulah boys basketball team, the path had to be like this.
Two years of frustration.
Two years of wondering whether it was ever meant to be.
And when the day came to exact some measure of revenge against Dickinson Trinity, the team that has ended their last two seasons, the Miners needed to sweat through 40 minutes of basketball to do it.
In a game that featured momentum swings, big plays from veterans and seldom-used role players, and multiple chances for each team to end it, poetically, Beulah finally got the monkey off of its back.
As the final buzzer sounded, the Miners raced onto the half-court circle in celebration of their 74-71 double overtime victory over the Titans in the Region 7 Tournament Final on Saturday, March 10 at Bison Arena. Beulah is headed back to the state tournament for the first time since 2014.
"Both teams went after each other hard. It will probably take me a little while to kind of step back and soak it all in," Miners head coach Jeremy Brandt said. "What a run of emotions throughout the game, just the way it went up and down. We're fortunate to come out on top, obviously it could have gone either way."
Seeing playing time because of attrition, as both teams combined to have five players foul out, Beulah senior center Michael Schmidt knocked down the biggest shot of the game and his career.
Shortly after checking into the game, Schmidt calmly drained a jump shot from the elbow late in the second overtime to give Beulah a 72-69 lead.
With the advantage down to two in the waning seconds, Schmidt snared an defensive rebound. The Titans has a chance to tie it when senior guard Colton Jones delivered a lob to sophomore Seth Herner, but the forward's finish bounced off of the front rim.
After the rebound, Schmidt was fouled and went 1-for-2 from the foul line.
"I just tried going out there and doing what I needed to for our team," Schmidt said. "I guess it's easy for me to grab the ball and shoot, but all credit to my teammates. They trusted me to get in there, grab rebounds and do whatever to push them forward, I just did what I had to."
Down three with 5.6 seconds remaining in double overtime, Trinity again had a chance to tie it but a corner 3-pointer from senior forward Easton Walby fell short as time expired.
As tough as it is to be on the losing end and face the agony of defeat, it's hard not appreciate the instant classic the two teams produced.
"I was having a lot of fun, I was probably having a lot more fun than what the crowd was having," Titans head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. "We coached our butts off, the kids played their butts off. We could've played three more overtimes the way the game was going. It just came down to both teams having opportunities to make plays. It was like punch, counterpunch, punch counterpunch, you couldn't ask for anything more."
At the end of the first half, Dickinson Trinity senior guard Alec Sickler drilled a step-back 3-pointer, freeing himself with a behind-the-back dribble and leading to the Titans into halftime with a 29-27 lead.
"At halftime, one of the main things we talked was that we needed to be more physical on the glass," Brandt said. "We were giving up too many second chances and that was one of our keys before the game started. We have to rebound, when we don't rebound, things have been a little bit of a struggle."
Following a miss from the perimeter, junior Aric Knopik twice tipped the ball with a Beulah player on his back, completing an aerobatic putback. On the next possession, Sickler scored on a pull-up, giving the Titans a 33-27 third quarter advantage, the biggest lead either team enjoyed.
Dickinson Trinity outrebounded the Miners by a 37-29 margin, including a 14-7 mark on the offensive glass.
Senior guard Derek Ferebee kept the Miners close, scoring 11 of his game-high 27 points in the third quarter.
With 5:19 left in regulation, Beulah senior guard Mason Dolbec found eighth-grade guard Trey Brandt on a backdoor cut, tying the game at 48. The fourth quarter featured four ties.
After a Ferebee free throw gave Beulah a 57-54 lead, Sickler responded with a three-point play, converting on a scoop layup while be fouled with 39.3 seconds remaining in the fourth. Ferebee hit two more free throws, but Sickler again countered with a layup before the buzzer, sending the game into the first overtime.
Dickinson Trinity clung to a 64-62 lead before Miners senior guard Jacob Weigel hit a go-ahead
3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining in overtime. After missing his first four attempts, Weigel choose an opportune time to break his funk.
"We drew up the play on the board and [Trinity] were really collapsing a lot so we knew that the perimeter would be open," Weigel said. "So coach drew it up where Derek would drive in and I had confidence. Even you aren't hitting, you got to believe the next one is going in."
Trinity answered and had two chances to win the game.
Pulling up in the lane, Sickler drew a shooting foul after Ferebee made arm contact on the release, fouling him out of the game with 0.9 seconds remaining in OT. Sickler made the first free throw, but short-armed the second attempt. Herner swooped in for the offensive rebound but his putback was too strong.
Sickler led the Titans with 15 points while Knopik added 14 points and eight rebounds, five being offensive.
Senior forward Logan Miller scored 17 points while Weigel added nine points and eight rebounds.
"I was thinking we are going to play who we play, I just want to win." Weigel said. "It doesn't matter who we play as long as we win, but at the end, it did make it that much sweeter."
#1 Beulah 74, #2 Dickinson Trinity 71 (2OT)
DT 12 17 15 15 6 6
B 13 14 13 19 6 9
DT: Alec Sickler 15, Aric Knopik 14, Matthew Stafford 10, Colton Jones 9, Easton Walby 9, Isaac Fridrich 8, Seth Herner 3, Jacob Kubas 3.
B: Derek Ferebee 27, Logan Miller 17, Jacob Weigel 9, Trey Brandt 8, Aaron Vallejo 6, Mason Dolbec 4, Michael Schmidt 3.
3-pointers: DT 2 (Sickler 1, Jones 1), B 6 (Ferebee 4). Free throws: DT 21-29, B 22-30. Total fouls: DT 24, B 23. Fouled out: 5 (DT: Sickler, Knopik, Herner. B: Dolbec, Ferebee). Rebounds: DT 37 (Knopik 8), B 29 (Weigel 8). Assists: DT: 9 (Walby 3), B: 11 (Ferebee 3). Steals: DT 5 (Jones 3), B 10 (Ferebee 3). Turnovers: DT 15, B 10. Records: DT 15-9, B 20-4.