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Jordan Meidinger big piece of Midgets boys basketball team competing at state tournament

Jordan Meidinger gets all his high-fives down low, but all of his action is above the rim. As a 7-foot junior center for the Dickinson High boys basketball team, Meidinger presents a mismatch for every other team in the state on both ends of the ...

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Dickinson High junior center Jordan Meidinger dunks during a game against Bismarck Legacy Feb. 5 at DHS gymnasium. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

Jordan Meidinger gets all his high-fives down low, but all of his action is above the rim.

As a 7-foot junior center for the Dickinson High boys basketball team, Meidinger presents a mismatch for every other team in the state on both ends of the floor.

The fourth-seeded Midgets take on Fargo Davies, the East Region’s No. 1 seed, in the quarterfinals of the Class A state tournament at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Bismarck Event Center. Within the eight-team field, Meidinger figures to be the weapon that nobody else has.

“We have to take advantage of that,” Dickinson head coach Dan Glasser said. “Davies has a really good 6-foot-6 post player, who’s also a junior, in the (Jake) Paper kid. I think that’ll be one of the better matchups. If he’s able to win that, that might determine the game.”

If Meidinger performs how he did in three West Region Tournament games last week, where he had a double-double and an unofficial triple-double with points, rebounds and blocks, the Midgets will be a tough out for any team, regardless of seed.

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“That was some of the best playing I’d ever seen Jordan do,” senior forward Wyatt Kainz said. “He was in the zone. That was the most focused I’d seen him all season.”

Junior guard Aanen Moody added: “He was a different player. You could see he really wanted it.”

Meidinger, who verbally committed to North Dakota State last summer and averaged 9.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game during the regular season, said a great deal of his performance at the West Region Tournament was because he changed his mindset.

“There are some games (this season) I’m not ready for mentally, and that’s my fault,” he said. “(Last week) I felt more confidence. My teammates helped me get more confidence in being able to take a step up and demand the ball more.”

Against Bismarck Legacy in the second game of the tournament, Meidinger’s number of blocks varied depending on the source, but one thing was mutually agreed upon: Nobody was going to score in the lane.

“He’s a huge presence on the defensive end and we’ve been working a lot with him on that,” Glasser said. “Keeping his arms up, being intimidating, covering space like he’s able to. Offensively, I’ve always thought his footwork and his post moves have been good, but on the defensive end, when he’s aggressive and he’s blocking shots and not letting people go in for layups, it’s a game-changer.”

Meidinger said his success at the West Region Tournament, and throughout the season, has been grounded in staying disciplined.

“I think they kept trying to get a foul on me, so they kept driving and trying to shoot over me,” he said. “I think they were trying to get me out so that they could get those lanes easier. ... I have to remember to get my body away while still defending the shot.”

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Meidinger’s presence has its advantages on offense as well.

Moody, who leads the state in scoring at 31.5 points per game, often finds shot openings because of the spacing Meidinger creates.

“When I attack,” Moody said, “usually another defender likes to come and help and try to deny my way to the lane. Usually that guy is Jordan’s. Once that guy comes over, you can give to Jordan, and he’s going to finish it. ... It’s such an advantage to have a guy that can make plays with how big he is. If you get in trouble, throw it up to Jordan, and if you take a bad shot, maybe it clanks off the rim and falls into Jordan’s hands.”

Meidinger participated in elite basketball camps throughout the region during past summers, along with his experience with the ECI AAU basketball program, which he said has helped him become more polished.

“It really shows you how to pick up new teammates and learn how they play, which I think will help me in college, but it also lets me play against better players in other regions,” Meidinger said.

As Dickinson makes its first state tournament appearance since 2008 today, Meidinger is focused on being the offensive and defensive threat his teammates and coaches know he can be.

“(Glasser) knows I’m really important on the defensive end,” Meidinger said. “It makes a big difference for my teammates because then they don’t have to help out as much, but also he wants me to be more involved on offense so we can pull more guys toward me and take guys off of Moody. ... I’m going to do my best to do what I did at WDA.”

If Meidinger succeeds in doing that, he and the Midgets could be poised for a deep run.

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“I have to monitor his minutes better so that he’s not tired,” Glasser said. “When he’s not tired, he seems to be aggressive. And when he’s aggressive, he’s one of the best posts in the state.”

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