Lights out for Dickinson Midgets
Midgets' hot shooting leads to 17-point win over Williston on senior night
In an emotional night for seniors, Tuesday night’s game against Williston was more than a home game for the Dickinson Midgets. For the first time this season, the night was about more than getting the win, it was more than an exhibition for the fans or for the team. Instead, the night belonged to seniors Cooper Hughes, Remington Schatz, Reese Mack, Mason Anchondo, Jayden Hocker, Joshua Hood, Mason Ellingford and Kyle Brilz.
Losing was not an option for the Midgets who stand with a 5 and 13 record. While easier said than done, DHS knew that to win they would have to fire on all cylinders against an equally game Coyotes who were looking to make something out of a dismal 1 and 17 season.
With its penetration defense and the ability to torch the court from the lanes, the Midgets in the second half dominated the game going 13 for 20 in the second half — clinching a 76 to 59 victory.
Midgets’ Head Coach Dan Glasser was happy with the team’s overall win, but made it clear who the night belonged to.
“This is the one night that I look forward to the most, and that I hate the most,” Glasser said. “Honestly, those (seniors) have put so much into (basketball) and so much work and so much time and just the comradery that we have with each other, it really is a family.
Glasser added, “to know that it’s coming to an end, I’m just glad that they were all able to enjoy it and that they were able to be a part of that game tonight and I think that’s what means the most to me.”
The Midgets started the night off in a special way to honor the seniors by blacking out the entire gym, having the classic Chicago Bulls intro music playing in the background and having the seniors run through its inner funnel with the bright white light bouncing off the Midgets’ jerseys with their name called in the background. The experience only lasted approximately just over a minute, but it made the entire night feel that much more special, and the need to get a win that much more important.
Glasser opted to have five seniors start off the night off and had the other three seniors be the first to come off the bench. The decision to have all the seniors start the game first was easy, but whom to play in the starting five was not.
“It’s unfortunate that we can’t (start all seniors) as much as we’d like,” Glasser said. “One of the hardest decisions was picking five out of the eight because I had to explain to them that they weren’t left out and that they’d get in there as soon as we could.”
As it turned out, the classic introduction was just an early premonition for what was to come from the Midgets with its lights out shooting ability.
Dickinson did not have the shooting touch early, only hitting two of its early shot attempts, compared to Williston which was finding success by charging into the paint and forcing the action.
Following a Dickinson timeout, Dickinson began to clog the paint, making it difficult for the Coyotes to find its offense which allowed for the Midgets to begin converting points on the offensive end with its fast break abilities.
By the end of the first half, the Midgets held a 32-26 lead, lifting the spirits of the Midgets’ gymnasium and draining the enthusiasm from the opposing team.
The Midgets came out in the second half fired up with 65% shooting from the field and hitting 41% from 3-point range throughout the entire second half. Williston’s hopes of winning continued to drop with each shot the Midgets made, eventually taking over a 20-point lead over Williston.
With the win seemingly secured, Glasser had his seniors play as much as they possibly could in the second half knowing that the night belonged to them. By the time the final buzzer sounded with Dickinson holding a 17-point differential, Glasser was not as focused on the victory, but savoring the moment with his seniors.
With these eight seniors enduring a tough journey since last March when their chances of playing in the fifth place game were cut short by the National Emergency of the early COVID-19 pandemic, and carried over into this season with the season being postponed in December, Glasser said he will always remember his class of ‘chameleons.’
“I call them the chameleons because that’s what they are, they are able to adapt to tough situations and they do it without blinking an eye” he said. “That’s kind of the attitude that they have, not just in basketball, but with everything.”
Glasser added, “there’s not going to be another group like this, that has been through so much and needed each other more than ever and they’ve been there for each other and that’s what makes them so special.”
The night may have belonged to the eight seniors, but Glasser was eager to point out the underclassmen that also shined bright in the game, one of which being junior guard Britton Cranston, who led the team with 22 points on 54% shooting and hitting four of his eight attempted 3-pointers.
“There’s still a lot of kids here that are going to be a big part of our ‘end of the season run’ and might not be on the floor but they know how important they are to the team,” Glasser said.
Dickinson will have a few days rest before playing its final two games of the regular season. The Midgets will play Minot on Thursday, and Bismarck St. Mary’s next week.