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First half shooting sends Midgets past Braves

The Dickinson High boys basketball team exceeded expectations on Friday night. With a 58-45 win over Turtle Mountain, the Midgets advance to the WDA tournament starting on March 1. "I'm so happy for these guys," Dickinson head coach Dan Glasser said.

Dickinson High senior Dawson Bechtold tries to stop Braves senior Taven Azure as he drives to the basket on Friday, Feb. 23 at DHS gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High senior Dawson Bechtold tries to stop Braves senior Taven Azure as he drives to the basket on Friday, Feb. 23 at DHS gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson High boys basketball team exceeded expectations on Friday night.

With a 58-45 win over Turtle Mountain, the Midgets advance to the WDA tournament starting on March 1.

"I'm so happy for these guys," Dickinson head coach Dan Glasser said. "They were picked dead last in the conference in the preseason polls. Everyone had them last. No one gave them a chance and here they are. They get to go to the WDA tournament."

By the end of the contest, the stat sheet essentially showed two even teams. Each sank five 3-pointers, earned seven steals and turnovers and free throws were nearly identical. While the Midgets out rebounded the Braves 49-40, the biggest difference was first-half shooting.

The Braves put up 29 attempts on net, while the Midgets threw up 32. The home team made 15 of those while the visitors only made eight.

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"That's something I told them at half time. I think I can count on one hand probably a bad shot," Glasser said. "I didn't think they took many bad shots. They did a great job attacking to the rim and making the correct read. If it was there they took it, if not, they kicked it out."

Powered by senior Braden Selinger, who scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first half, the Midgets developed a 20-point lead. Selinger ended the evening with 23 points and eight rebounds, followed by senior Dawson Bechtold had 10 points for the Midgets as well as four rebounds.

"It was super relieving to have a lead pretty much the whole game," senior Dawson Bechtold said. "Once we had that lead I feel like we all kind of relaxed and were able to play hard basketball."

A series of baskets, including two 3-pointers from Turtle Mountain junior Julian Parisien narrowed the gap, giving the Midgets a 36-30 advantage at the half.

The 6-foot-4 center kept the ball rolling in the Braves favor in the second half. Turtle Mountain went on an 18-7 run to start the second, fueled mostly by Parisien who led all scorers with 25 points. He did most of the offensive work for the Braves, as the next top scorer, Tristen Davis, had eight points.

Meanwhile, the Midgets limited Turtle Mountain senior Taven Azure to two points.

"What we did with Azure tonight is absolutely unbelievable," Glasser said. "He went 1-for-17. He's one of the best players in the league and what Dawson and what (senior) Nate Personne did on him was tremendous."

At the end of the Braves' run, Dickinson had a 45-38 lead. As the Midgets advanced into the front court, Parisien was called for a foul.

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The Dickinson bench roared as moments later, senior Dawson Bechtold hit nothing but net from the three-point arc.

During the next Braves possession, Midget senior Connor Hoenke earned one of his four steals, bolted down the court and scored, drawing a foul against Turtle Mountain.

"We just told them we need to get consecutive stops," Braves head coach Mike Vandal said of his teams big run. "We always push for three stops in a row, get three scores, just to chip away at the lead. They did that. We cut it to seven there, they come back and hit a big three. It just looked like it took the wind out of our sails."

With six minutes remaining, Dickinson took back control. Selinger scored six more points in the closing moments of the game.

"Every coach says at the beginning of the year they want to be playing their best basketball at the end of the season and I think we're really doing that," Glasser said. "We may not be as good as the other teams and that's fine, but they get to go to a tournament that no one ever thought they'd be at."

Dickinson High 58, Turtle Mountain 45

TM: Julian Parisien 25, Tristin Davis 8, Darrick Fedrick 4.

D: Braden Selinger 23, Dawson Bechtold 10, Tallon Klatt 8, Krew Mathern 6, Connor Hoenke 6, Nathan Personne 3, Martin Lopez 2.

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Halftime: D 36, TM 20. 3-pointers: TM 5-27), D 5-14 (Selinger 3-5). Free throws: TM 8-13, D 7-11. Total fouls: TM 18, D 14. Rebounds: TM 40 (Taven Azure 6), D 49 (Tallon Klatt 11). Assists: TM 2 (Azure, Davis), D 7 (Lopez 3). Steals: TM 7 (Azure 3), D 7 (Hoenke 4). Blocks: TM 1 (Parisien), D 3 (Klatt 2). Turnovers: TM 13, D 12. Records: TM 6-16, D 7-15.

Midgets senior Connor Hoenke looks for an open lane as he drives towards the basket against Turtle Mountain on Friday, Feb. 23 at the DHS gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Midgets senior Connor Hoenke looks for an open lane as he drives towards the basket against Turtle Mountain on Friday, Feb. 23 at the DHS gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

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