Midgets fall flat in foul fest: Bismarck Legacy triumphs as teams combine for 55 fouls
The Bismarck Legacy and Dickinson High boys basketball teams combined to commit 55 fouls.
In a game that was called incredibly close, the Midgets did not lose because of the referees. They lost because of their costly errors.
With both teams deadlocked at 36 at halftime, Dickinson turned the ball over 11 times in the second half and 20 times overall, falling to the Sabers 76-68 on Friday, Dec. 14, from the Dickinson High Gym.
Dickinson's record drops to 1-4 early this season.
"This is game No. 5, and we are still making the same mistakes as we did in game one. We're not learning and we're not making any changes to become a better basketball team," Midgets head coach Dan Glasser said. "We're doing the same things that hurt us in game one and if we continue to do that, we're not going to improve."
With the amount of whistles that were blown, each team had ample opportunity to connect from the free-throw line. However, the Midgets converted on only 18 of 32 attempts from the line, while their opponent was far more efficient, sinking 25 of its 34 freebies.
Taking advantage of Dickinson's missed opportunities, Bismarck Legacy blew the game open in the second half, building as much as a 14-point lead.
Capped by a pair of free throws from senior guard Andrew Messmer, the Sabers extended what was a slim 52-51 lead to a 64-55 cushion following a 12-4 run. As Legacy was producing points on its end, the Midgets had trouble hanging onto the ball. The opponent's defensive pressure led to many intercepted passes in the half-court and run-outs resulting in layups or fouls retreating back in transition.
A 3-pointer from Legacy senior forward Paxton Miller stretched the advantaged out to 74-60. The shot was created with strong ball movement against the Midgets' zone.
"I thought we just ran good stuff," Sabers head coach Jason Horner said. "Earlier in the year, we weren't looking for our teammates. It was a combination of not looking for our teammates and not sliding to open windows whenever we did get dribble penetration. So a lot of times, we were trying to finish over the top of three guys. We challenged the guys to share the ball. ... We just put it on our guys to trust our teammates, find the open window and I thought we moved the ball fantastic and hit big shots."
The refs took control early. Eliminating much of the game's flow, the whistle was blown with every modicum of physical contact. Dickinson was in the bonus with 12 minutes and 55 seconds remaining in the first half. It wouldn't take long for Bismarck Legacy to follow, as the two teams combined to reach 20 fouls by the 7:06 mark of the frame.
However, the 18th foul was the most crucial as Dickinson junior forward Jaiden Wright was sent to the bench with his third foul and nine minutes left in the half. Before that call, he scored seven of the team's last nine points, but committed a silly swipe at the ball more than 25 feet away from the basket. Overall, the Midgets had three players seated with three fouls at the end of the first 18 minutes.
"The refs are going to call it the way they are going to call," Glasser said. "It's so hard because our last game was reffed completely different at home than this game. And our kids don't have the experience to change the way they defend because they don't have the games under their belt. But I'm done making the inexperienced excuse, because they've made the same mistakes for five games now. Either they are going to start fixing it or they are going to continue to lose."
For all of its troubles, Dickinson had a 36-31 lead late in the first half after a 3-pointer from junior guard Jayden Hocker. The visitors fired back with two free throws and a 3-pointer from senior guard Joshua Bitz, tying the game at 36 as the teams went into the locker rooms.
Wright continued on his scoring binge, scoring 17 of 24 points in the second half. However, he committed his fourth foul with nine minutes remaining in the game, reaching for a steal after a turnover and eventually fouled out in the latter moments.
Back on the bench, Wright remained vocal and supportive.
"I was trying to keep my teammates' spirit up," Wright said. "It is tough, we did have multiple players with three or fouls early in the second half. We had a few players subbed in that don't play that much, so I was trying to keep their spirits up and keep them working hard."
Bismarck Legacy 76, Dickinson High 68
BL 36 40 — 76
D 36 32 — 68
BL: Troy Hilz 16, Rhett Clements 13, Joshua Bitz 10, Joey Buzalsky 10, Nick Kupfer 7, Andrew Messmer 7, Paxton Miller 7, Kegan Woodbury 3, Cooper Glenn 3.
D: Jaiden Wright 24, Kobe Krenz 16, Tallon Klatt 12, Cody Maier 6, Jayden Hocker 5, Isaac Gjerde 3, Alex Praus 2.
3-pointers: BL 7 (Hilz 2, Miller 2, Bitz 2), D 6 (Wright 2, Krenz 2). Free throws: BL 25-32, D 18-32. Total fouls: BL 26, D 29. Fouled out: 4 (BL, Clements, Woodbury. D, Wright, Hocker). Technical fouls: 1 (BL, Buzalsky). Rebounds: BL 41 (Hilz 9), D 38 (Klatt). Assists: BL 5 (Hilz 2, Woodbury 2), D 10 (Krenz 4). Steals: BL 11 (Messmer 3), D N/A. Blocks: BL 0, D 2 (Wright 1, Maier 1). Turnovers: BL 7, D 20. Records: BL 4-1 (West Region 3-1), D 1-4 (West Region 1-4).