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Bulldogs boys basketball stressing defense to take next step

BOWMAN -- Bit by bit, the Bowman County boys basketball team is making improvements. The Bulldogs finished 8-14 overall last season -- after winning five games the previous two years combined -- and lost in their Region 7 play-in game. Bowman Cou...

Bowman County junior Dylan Scott (5) attacks the rim against Dickinson Trinity in the quarterfinals of last season's Roughrider Tournament on Dec. 15, 2015, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Press File Photo)
Bowman County junior Dylan Scott (5) attacks the rim against Dickinson Trinity in the quarterfinals of last season's Roughrider Tournament on Dec. 15, 2015, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Press File Photo)

BOWMAN - Bit by bit, the Bowman County boys basketball team is making improvements.

The Bulldogs finished 8-14 overall last season - after winning five games the previous two years combined - and lost in their Region 7 play-in game.

Bowman County lost four seniors from last year's team but returns a solid core, head coach Erick Egan said. With the goal of progression in mind, Egan said his players look to return to the region tournament and see what they can stir up from there.

"Last year, I think we took a big step forward. This year, they've talked a lot about getting into the region tournament because it's been a while since we've been in it," Egan said. "We want to get in and see what happens from there."

Junior Dylan Scott, the team's leading scorer from a season ago (16 per game), returns and remains the team's focal point on offense. Egan said Scott's shooting percentage dipped a little last year, but that was a product of him taking more shots than his freshman year; the 6-foot all-region guard is still the Bulldogs' main scoring threat.

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"He's a very good offensive player. And we've talked to him about - with losing our seniors from last year - he's got to step up as a defensive stopper for us," Egan said. "He's got to be a guy we can count on if we need to put him on the other team's better offensive players."

To replace the points lost from the four seniors - Alex Bartholomay, Cole Osendorf, Brayden Miller and Daniel Baesler - Egan said he needs other players to step into new roles as well.

Senior center Jacob Boehm, at 6-foot-4, is already the team's leading rebounder at 6.7 per game last season, but Egan said he'll have to be an inside presence on offense.

"He's a very good rebounder and right now he's focusing on giving us more on the offensive end down there in the post," Egan said. "He's working on catching the ball cleanly, taking it up strong and finishing because that's a big thing he struggled on last year, and he's definitely improved on that."

The Bulldogs should also benefit from the returns of sophomore Corban Massey (suspension) and Reed Marmon (knee injury).

"Both of those guys are very good defenders and good shooters from the outside," Egan said. "And Chance Andrews, he gave us good energy off the bench last year, and he's a good shooter. He knocked down some really big shots."

The Bulldogs aim to make defense a priority in a region that is particularly difficult to defend; not many teams are similar in what they bring to the table, but they're all dangerous in their own way.

"Early in the (2015-16) season, I thought we played some good defense, but as the season wore on, our biggest problem was depth. We were maybe only the five starters and two or three guys down onto the bench," Egan said. "So developing depth is going to be huge for us so we can pick up the pressure a little more on defense. If we can't stop people or have to score 70 points a night, that's tough for any team to do. We're just trying to lock it down a little more on defense and rebounding."

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Bowman County Bulldogs

Head coach: Erick Egan (second season)

2015-16 result: 8-14 overall, lost in Region 7 play-in

Returners: Jacob Boehm, Sr., Mason Moran, Sr., Dylan Scott, Jr., Chance Andrews, Jr., Andrew Miller, Jr., Corban Massey, Soph., Adam Powell, Soph., Brian Anaya, Soph.

Newcomers: Reed Marmon, Jr.

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