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"Full throttle": DHS boys zoom by Bismarck Legacy, stay in West Region action

BISMARCK -- The Dickinson High boys basketball team started the season at the bottom of West Region polls, but is now just one win away from the State Tournament.

Dickinson High senior Dawson Bechtold barrels towards the basket against Bismarck Legacy on Friday, March 2 at the Bismarck Event Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High senior Dawson Bechtold barrels towards the basket against Bismarck Legacy on Friday, March 2 at the Bismarck Event Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

BISMARCK - The Dickinson High boys basketball team started the season at the bottom of West Region polls, but is now just one win away from the State Tournament.

The No. 8 Midgets led No. 5 Bismarck Legacy the whole way in a loser out game at the WDA tournament on Friday, March 2 at the Bismarck Event Center, coming away with the 71-63 win.

"I think this was one of the first times we all came out and everybody went full throttle," senior Krew Mathern said. "I think that's what changed for our team. Everybody just went as hard as they could."

From tip off to the final buzzer, the Dickinson High defense pressured Legacy. The Midgets gave the Sabers little room to move the ball, forcing seven turnovers and stealing the ball once in the opening 18 minutes. That constant and consistent presence limited the Sabers to 40 percent shooting in the first half, granting the Midgets a 25-23 lead at the break.

"What they did in that first half on the defensive end was amazing to watch," Dickinson head coach Dan Glasser said. "Just all five of them working together. It wasn't any three people, four people. It was all five being at the right place at the right time."

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While the defense never let up, the offense only improved in the second half. Coming out of the locker rooms, the Midgets stretched their advantage to 39-30 with just under 12 minutes remaining. With five minutes to go, senior Braden Selinger gave the Midgets their first double-digit lead with a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer off an inbounds pass. A minute later, senior Dawson Bechtold drained another three.

"It was two threes," Glasser said as the catalyst for the lead. "That might not sound like a lot, but two threes is more than we usually have."

The lead, as great as 16 points at one point, quickly broke down as Legacy shot lights out in the closing minutes. Legacy senior Austin Wolf, who finished with 14 points on the day, sank a three from deep to cut the deficit to 66-63 with 32 seconds left.

Despite their dramatic climb back into the game, that was as close as the Sabers would get.

"We did some good things at the end, we just ran out of time," Legacy head coach Jason Horner said. "We had a sense of urgency but we took some panicked shots at the end. We didn't really need to but they're kids. Everybody is screaming at them from the crowd and the bench and that's what kids do."

Made free throws from senior Conner Hoenke and Mathern kept the Midgets comfortable in the final seconds. Mathern led all scorers with 24 points and went 6-of-7 from the foul line. Hoenke added 13 points along with Selinger who shot 8-for-11 from the charity stripe.

"To finish the game from the line shows how far this team has come," Glasser said. "Just the maturity they showed and the patience. Being able to finish the game, it's huge for these guys."

The Midgets used rebounds to get ahead as well, collecting 38 on the day, besting Legacy's 31.

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Hoenke and Mathern had a team-high seven boards each. While only eight of those 38 were on the offensive end, Dickinson earned 12 second-chance points while Legacy only earned eight.

"Rebounding is always a really hard part of the game. You always want to go and try to box our guy out. I think today we did that really well, in the first half. At the end, we kind of lost the guys going back and forth. It's hard to find your guy when someone shoots and you're just looking everywhere, but in the first half we did pretty good."

Turnovers also proved important, with the Midgets capitalizing and scoring 16 points. The Sabers netted 13 off of turnovers. While the differences in some statistics were meager, combined they made all the difference.

The win sends Dickinson High to a State Tournament qualifying game against Bismarck St. Mary's on Saturday, March 3 at 4:15 CT.

"I tip my hat to Danny," Horner said. "That team he has now compared to the beginning of the year is night and day and that's the product of one, good coaching and two, leadership and three, hard work so they deserve to play tomorrow.

Dickinson High 71, Bismarck Legacy 63

DHS: Krew Mathern 24, Braden Selinger 13, Conner Hoenke 13, Dawson Bechtold 9, Tallon Klatt 8, Martin Lopez 4.

BL: Jason Hoekstra 15, Braxon Erhardt 15, Austin Wolf 14, Devin Beck 8, Jack Markle 6, Koby Bosch 3, Rhett Clements 2.

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Halftime: DHS 25, BL 23. 3-pointers: DHS 2-7 (Selinger, Bechtold), BL 8-29 (Hoekstra 3-4). Free throws: DHS 27-36, BL 7-14. Total fouls: DHS 17, BL 22. Fouled out: BL Erhardt. Rebounds: DHS 38 (Hoenke, Mathern 7), BL 31 (Wofl 9). Assists: DHS 9 (Bechtold 5), BL 6 (Hoekstra 3). Steals: DHS 4 (Bechtold 2), BL 4 (Bosch 1). Blocks: DHS 1 (Selinger), BL 1 (Bosch). Turnovers: DHS 14, BL 13. Records: DHS 8-16, BL 9-14.

Midgets junior Martin Lopez looks for an open pass while guarded by Sabers senior Braxon Erhardt on Friday, March 2 at the Bismarck Event Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Midgets junior Martin Lopez looks for an open pass while guarded by Sabers senior Braxon Erhardt on Friday, March 2 at the Bismarck Event Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

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