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Dickinson cracks down on defense to defeat Saints

The last time the Dickinson High boys basketball faced Bismarck St. Mary's, the Saints pulled away from a close game to win at home 57-49, on Tuesday, Feb. 19. So when the teams met again just three days later on Dickinson's turf, the Midgets kne...

Dickinson High junior guard Jaiden Wright handles the ball during a WDA play-in game against Bismarck St. Mary's, on Friday Feb. 22, at the Dickinson High Gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High junior guard Jaiden Wright handles the ball during a WDA play-in game against Bismarck St. Mary's, on Friday Feb. 22, at the Dickinson High Gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

The last time the Dickinson High boys basketball faced Bismarck St. Mary's, the Saints pulled away from a close game to win at home 57-49, on Tuesday, Feb. 19. So when the teams met again just three days later on Dickinson's turf, the Midgets knew exactly what adjustments to make.

Using tweaks on defense and a home crowd-fueled offense, No. 8 Dickinson defeated No. 9 Bismarck St. Mary's 52-42 in a WDA play-in game on Friday, Feb. 22 at the Dickinson High Gym.

"I think the biggest thing tonight was our defense," junior guard Jaiden Wright said. "We gave up a lot of back-door cuts the last time we played them and they got a lot of easy buckets at the rim, leaking out fast breaks. We were able to do a great job on the defensive end tonight and I think that's what made us win."

In the opening half, the Saints held a slight 16-12 lead, but for the last seven minutes of the frame, the home team held its opponent scoreless while netting 12 straight points to hold a 24-16 advantage at halftime.

After a bucket from junior forward Isaac Gjerde got things started, sophomore guard Jayden Hocker tied the game at 16. Wright scored the next four points for Dickinson before junior guard Kobe Krenz finished the half with an awkward, fumbled jumper that bobbled into the rim.

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The momentum carried into the second half, until St. Mary's junior guard Jaxson Wiseman hit a three at the 13:55 mark to stop the streak.

Wiseman, who scored 13 points against the Midgets in the last meeting, was limited to just eight points on Friday. Senior guard Ben Schmidt, who averages just under 20 points per game, was also kept to eight points.

"We obviously knew they have two great players," Dickinson High head coach Dan Glasser said. "We really keyed on them. The other three had to be there to help. I thought that when we played them just the other day on Tuesday, we were hugging our guys too much and there wasn't enough help-side to those two. That was the main adjustment that we did."

Senior guard Holten Bradley contributed a team-high 11 points and aided the Saints in getting within reach of the Midgets again.

With nine minutes left on the clock, the boys in blue were suddenly within three, 33-30. Wright silenced the surging Saints and their supporters with a deep 3-pointer to stretch the advantage. A few minutes later, he hit another, pushing the score to 39-34. At the 5:40 mark, Krenz was fouled on a three-point attempt and proceeded to make each of his shots from line, creating a more comfortable 42-34 cushion.

"They just hit some big shots," Glasser said. "We really had some good patience. ... We can always attack the basket more, but I think when you play defense like that, I think the offense is just something that carries along with it."

Krenz scored 12 points, while Wright led all players with 19. The two knocked down all five of Dickinson's 3-pointers. In a strong defensive effort, Krenz added four steals and six rebounds.

Junior forward Tallon Klatt chipped in with five points, but led the team with 13 rebounds, 12 on the defensive end.

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The Midgets will face No. 1 Jamestown in the quarterfinal round of the West Region Tournament on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Bismarck Event Center at 3 p.m. CT.

"I feel confident," Wright said. "We got Jamestown in the first round. They're ranked No. 1 in the state, 19-0, and I think we're gonna surprise them."

Dickinson High 52, Bismarck St. Mary's 42

BSM: Holten Bradley 11, Ben Schmidt 8, Jaxson Wiseman 8.

DHS: Jaiden Wright 19, Kobe Krenz 12, Isaac Gjerde 6, Jayden Hocker 6, Tallon Klatt 5, Cody Maier 2, Alex Praus 2.

Halftime: DHS 24, BSM 16. 3-pointers: BSM 6 (Bradley 3), DHS 5 (Wright 3). Free throws: BSM 2-14, DHS 17-29. Total fouls: BSM 22, DHs 17. Fouled out: BSM, Bradley. DHS, Maier. Rebounds: BSM 40 (Schmidt 7), DHS 45 (Klatt 13) Turnovers: BSM 16, D 20. Records: BSM 4-18, DHS 7-15.

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