With junior point guard Kobe Krenz bringing the ball up the court, Dickinson head coach Dan Glasser took a couple of steps on the floor to call a timeout with only 44.2 seconds remaining on the game clock.
The Midgets held a slim 72-69 advantage and were trying to close out a Williston team that rallied back from a 15-point hole.
Shortly after the ball was inbounded, Krenz had it on the left wing. Performing a spin that dropped his defender to the floor, he lifted a right-handed floater high off the glass, but could not get it to drop. However, Midgets guard Cody Maier positioned perfectly himself in the paint and was fouled as he elevated for the rebound. The senior calmly drained two free throws, giving his team a two-possession advantage. Dickinson would nail shots from the charity stripe the rest of the way, earning a 78-69 victory on Tuesday, Dec. 18, from the Dickinson High Gym.
"He did exactly what we ask him to do, and that's lead us," Glasser said of Maier. "He's such a quiet kid, but I've never had anyone that's worked harder than him. He's not a talker, he's a doer. ... I call him 'the welder.' He just shows up and brings his lunch box and he goes to work. Just an amazing kid and athlete, and I'm really proud of him, being our only senior, stepping up the way that he did."
Dickinson's second half was a far cry from the performance it put together in the first half. The Midgets scored exactly half as many points (26) in the last 18 minutes as they did in the first 18 minutes (52).
With that, Williston took advantage, particularly from the outside, draining six from three-point range in the latter frame. Halfway through the second half, a right-wing long-distance bomb from Williston senior forward Apollo Beck closed the Coyotes to within 63-60, the closest gap since the midway portion of the first half.
The road team had several chances to tie the game, but senior Reed Hanson was off-target on a pair of three-pointers and sophomore John Everson could not connect from deep either in the game's final moments.
Dickinson led from wire-to-wire, aided by the 52-point first half, which is the team's highest point-total in a half this season.
The Midgets operated their offense in a variety of ways early on. Their first 16 points were created by attacking the rim, scoring on drives or making free throws after drawing fouls through penetrations. Junior guard Jaiden Wright was the biggest aggressor, producing 10 of those points and helping the Midgets to a 16-7 lead.
Williston closed back in with a Everson 3-pointer, making the score 16-15 in Dickinson's favor. The Coyotes were able to slice into the deficit due to long rebounds resulting in fast breaks, but that was all before the three-point shot started to fall for the home team.
Sophomore guard Jayden Hocker knocked down the first of five opening-half 3-pointers; three of which were made by Krenz, who led all scorers with 26 points.
"We have all the ingredients to be a great team," Glasser said. "If we just believe in ourselves, I think they are starting to see what they are capable of. We did a lot of good things attacking the basket because we are quick and we are strong, but we also have the ability to make outside shots because we have good shooters.
For the end of the first half, junior center Tallon Klatt took over. The 6-foot-6 post scored 10 of the team's last 15 points of the frame, as the Midgets entered the locker rooms with a 52-37 cushion.
"In the latter portion of the half, they were somewhat getting me the ball, and they kind of did so throughout the whole game," Klatt said. "When I get the ball down low, I'm just thinking to score and put the ball up."
Dickinson 78, Williston 69
W 37 32 - 69
D 52 26 - 78
W: John Everson 18, Brady Aberle 14, Reed Hanson 13, Wil Olsen 10, Apollo Beck 5, Leif Larsen 4, Grayson Swain 3, Sam Kortan 2
D: Kobe Krenz 26, Jaiden Wright 18, Tallon Klatt 18, Jayden Hocker 18, Cody Maier 6.
3-pointers: W 10 (Hanson 3), D 6 (Krenz 3). Free throws: W 9-15, D 22-27. Total fouls: W 25, D 15. Fouled out: 2 (W, Jaxon Meyer, Kortan). Records: W 1-5 (West Region 0-5), D 2-4 (West Region 2-4).