Blazing by the Wildfire: Dickinson Trinity uses 3-point shooting, rebounding to defeat Mott-Regent
Midway through the third quarter of her teams contest against Mott-Regent, Dickinson Trinity senior forward Alexa Walby leaped high in the air to pull down a long offensive rebound after a miss from the perimeter. Keeping the possession alive, Walby shortly cashed in from the outside, sinking a 3-pointer after the team worked the ball around with quality ball-movement.
Her shot gave the Titans their biggest lead of the game at 30-16, an advantage they would not relinquish.
Dickinson Trinity's proficiency from behind the arc and its dominating performance on the glass were the two key factors to a 44-34 victory over a surging Wildfire squad on Monday, Jan. 5, from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
Snapping the Wildfire's four-game winning streak, the home team connected on a season-high six 3-pointers and outrebounded Mott-Regent 51-35, including a 24-11 margin on the offensive boards.
"It wasn't perfect, but this was a very important win for us," Titans head coach Carter Fong said. "They came in hot, we dropped two in a row, and we just think it's going to be an ultra competitive region. I think wins are going to be hard to come by, every win is important. We maybe didn't have too many style points tonight, but the bottom line is that we got a win and defended our home court."
Following Walby's long-distance make, Mott-Regent quickly sliced its deficit in half by the end of the frame. Forcing the Titans to a number of turnovers in the full court, the Wildfire went on a 9-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from freshman guard Madison Rafferty and a bucket by senior forward Bree Friedt, who absorbed contact before converting inside.
"We got after them and pressured them into some turnovers. That was one of the big things," Mott-Regent head coach Adam Hill said. "Then we started getting the ball into the post a little bit. We run a ball-screen offense and I thought we were doing a lot of left and right penetration, and not getting into the lane and putting some pressure on the defense. We that a little bit better in the second half and we knocked down some shots, that always helps too."
Early in the fourth period, a Rafferty driving layup that cut the Titans' lead to 32-27, Dickinson Trinity put the game away with a 9-2 surge of its own.
Sophomore forward Kara Wanner started the run with a basket inside before Walby hit her third from deep. Following a turn-around inside from forward Abbey Kubas, the sophomore drained a pair of free throws to push the margin back 41-29.
"We all just had to keep our composure and take care of the ball, don't worry about what they are doing defensively and just play our game," Kubas said.
Kubas had a monster game, leading all players with 18 points and 16 rebounds, six of which were on the offensive end. She also added three blocks and a pair of steals, but maybe her most impressive stat was from the free-throw line.
Entering the night, Kubas had converted less than 50 percent of her attempts from the charity stripe. However, against the Wildfire, she was 8-for-11.
"I've struggled early in the year with free throws," Kubas said. "So I just knew I had to make them. I've been working on them in practice and I knew I had to make them for the team."
While Kubas was strong from the line, both teams struggled from the field to open the game, going five-and-a-half minutes before the first field goal was made. What was particularly frustrating for the Titans is that they created many more opportunities from their work on the offensive glass, collecting seven offensive rebounds through the first eight possessions. Coming up empty, Fong told his players to stay the course.
"The key word in our pregame talk was opportunity," Fong said. "We need to give ourselves more opportunities than our opponents. We had 25 offensive rebounds in our previous game and we had 24 more tonight. We have not been shooting the ball well from the field, but if we get more chances, the scoreboard will go our way eventually."
Leading 9-6 after the first frame, Dickinson Trinity extended its lead to 23-14 entering halftime. Walby, junior guard Kylen Kubas and senior guard Bre Tessier each connected from downtown in the second period.
Rafferty led the Mott-Regent attack, finishing with 15 points after going 8 of 9 from the line. However, no other Wildfire player scored more than four points.
"Give (Dickinson Trinity) a lot of credit, they knocked down shots, but I was really proud of our girls. They played hard," Hill said. "We made a couple of runs back at them. ... I was really happy with the way the girls played. You have never happy losing the ballgame, but I saw some good signs, and maybe next time we see them, they don't shoot so well."
Dickinson Trinity 44, Mott-Regent 34
MR 6 8 11 9
DT 9 14 9 12
MR: Madison Rafferty 15, Kiara Koepplin 4, Bree Friedt 4, Karagan Friedt 4, Madison Meier 2, Kattie Honeyman 2, Hailee Olson 2, Morgan Hertz 1
DT: Abbey Kubas 18, Alexa Walby 9, Kylen Kubas 6, Bre Tessier 5, Kara Wanner 4, Amaya Willer 2.
3-pointers: MR 1 (Rafferty 1), DT 6 (Walby 3). Free throws: MR 13-20, DT 8-15. Total fouls:
MR 15, DT 21. Rebounds: MR 35 (B. Friedt 8), DT 51 (A. Kubas 16). Assists: MR 1 (Rafferty 1), DT 0. Steals: MR 9 (Koepplin 3), DT 7 (A. Kubas 1). Blocks: MR 3 (B. Friedt 2), DT 6 (A. Kubas 3). Turnovers: MR 20, DT 17. Records: MR 6-3 (Region 7 1-1), DT 6-4 (Region 7 2-0).