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First quarter burst eases Titans past New England

In their locker room before Dickinson Trinity's game against New England Tuesday night, there was chatter by the Titans involving the need for a quick start.

Dickinson Trinity junior Easton Walby surveys the court Tuesday night against New England at the Knights Of Columbus Activities Center. (The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson Trinity junior Easton Walby surveys the court Tuesday night against New England at the Knights Of Columbus Activities Center. (The Dickinson Press)

In their locker room before Dickinson Trinity's game against New England Tuesday night, there was chatter by the Titans involving the need for a quick start.

Eight minutes of gameplay later, at the end of the first quarter, they were up 26-2.

They parlayed that into a 38-7 halftime lead, and eventually a smooth 76-28 victory at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center, a nice bounce back after dropping a decision to Oak Grove earlier on in the week.

"We've been struggling getting off to good starts. We talked about between all the guys and decided we needed to start bringing the energy faster," said junior Noah Sickler, who finished with a team-high 15 points on 7 of 7 shooting in just 12 minutes on the floor. "Tonight we did that. Everyone was pumped. It was nice to come out the way we did."

The Titans shot an outstanding 16 of 27 from the field in the first 16 minutes. Everything, it seemed-layups, jump shots, 3-pointers-was going in. On offense, the ball was constantly moving, and seven Titans scored on 12 assists.

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But the jumpstart, which the Tigers could not find the answer to, came on defense. Trinity as a whole applied a suffocating team defense to New England; the Titans pressed full-court, stripped ball handlers and got their hands in passing lanes on their way to 20 forced turnovers and 20 steals in the first half alone. Many of those led to easy layups on the other end in transition.

"Our kids defended really well, we took them out of any flow they had," Trinity head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. "We're at our best when we guard; I think these guys understand that. We played 11 or 12 guys in the first half and they all got after it defensively. We wear people out that way."

The second half for New England was a little bit better relative to the first two quarters; they nearly doubled their scoring output from the first half in the third quarter. Cody Holt, the big 6-foot-8 center for the Tigers, scored a game-high 16 points, the but the Titans did a good job on keeping him in check. Without his production, New England had only 12 points on five field goals.

The Tiger defense, however, failed to stop Trinity on offense no matter what lineup Grinsteinner put on the court.

Every Titan on the roster played, and all but one had at least a bucket. No other player beside Sickler scored in double figures, but seven had between five and nine points. They finished with 17 assists and a 64 percent shooting clip.

The entirety of the fourth quarter was played by a crew of Titans that normally might not be getting so many minutes, something Grinsteinner was happy to do.

"I look at a kid like Michael Marsh, who's busting his tail every day in practice, just to see the big smile on his face was great," said Grinsteinner of the senior who played 11 minutes and scored four points. "When he was about ready to pass out midway through the fourth quarter, I smiled and said, 'Michael, you're not coming out of this game.'"

 

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Dickinson Trinity 76, New England 28

NE 2 5 13 8

THS 26 12 24 14

NE: Cody Holt 16, Ivey Gilliland 3, Braden Rayhorn 3, Denit Sorenson 2, John Wolf 2, Gabe Sorenson 2.

THS: Noah Sickler 15, Lucas Jones 9, Shawn Stoltz 8, Aric Knopik 8, Alec Scherr 6, Jacob Kubas 5, Kendall Jones 5, Easton Walby 5, Michael Marsh 4, Isaac Fridrich 4, Keagan Jacobson 3, Alec Sickler 2, Colton Jones 2.

3-pointers: NE 1-6 (Gilliland 1-1, D. Sorenson 0-1, Wolf 0-1, G. Sorenson 0-1, Carter Stang 0-2), THS 5-13 (J. Jones 3-5, K. Jones 1-1, Walby 1-6, Stoltz 0-1). Free throws: NE 3-8, THS 7-10. Total fouls: NE 9, THS 11. Rebounds: NE 15 (Holt 7), THS 22 (Stoltz, Marsh 4). Assists: NE 3 (Justin Cantwell 3), THS 17 (Walby, Jacobson 3). Steals: NE 12 (Holt, Cantwell 2), THS 27 (L. Jones 6). Blocks: NE 3 (Cantwell, Marquis Erickson, Gilliland 1), H 0. Turnovers: NE 29, THS 13.

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