Midgets end season in dramatic battle with Jamestown
BISMARCK -- In their past two meetings with Jamestown, the Dickinson High girls basketball team lost by margins of 23 and 32 points. Going into the West Region tournament loser out game on Friday, those games didn't matter.
BISMARCK - In their past two meetings with Jamestown, the Dickinson High girls basketball team lost by margins of 23 and 32 points. Going into the West Region tournament loser out game on Friday, those games didn't matter.
The No. 8 Midgets never led, but kept pace with the No. 5 Blue Jays for the entirety of the game, getting within two points with two minutes to go. While a 3-pointer from Dickinson senior Mckenna Weiler kept it close, free throws in the stretch gave Jamestown the 65-60 win on Friday, March 2 at the Bismarck Event Center.
"I always knew we were capable of playing that way," Dickinson head coach James Hayden said. "It was unbelievable. It was so much fun to see our girls go out the way that they did and play as hard as they did. Before the game today we talked about what happens when teams go on runs. If we go down 10, 15, 20 points, as a coach I never think that we're out of it. ... I couldn't be more proud of the girls. I know it's not the outcome we wanted but if we're going to go down I'm glad we went down that way with a lot of fight."
Hayden was proven correct on Friday. With 12 minutes to play, the Blue Jays had a 48-32 advantage, their greatest of the night.
Dickinson junior Gabby Jung scored six of the next nine points, bringing the Midgets within nine.
Jamestown lept out on a 5-point run, but Dickinson countered again. With two minutes to go the score was 59-57, but the Blue Jays took advantage every time a Midget fouled them and put the game away from the line.
"We practice free throws in clutch and pressure free throws for situations like that," Jamestown head coach Andy Skunberg said. "We have to step on the line and make some free throws. Olivia (Nihill) went 2-of-4 down at the end but if we get points every possession, that's huge."
As she did all season for the Midgets, Jung shined on both ends of the court. She led all scorers with 24 points, went 2-for-4 from the foul line as well as leading the Midgets with four blocks. Jung was also just two rebounds away from a double-double.
"She's been our energizer all year," Hayden said. "She's a very tough player to guard for any team, I think. What makes her difficult to guard is her outside shooting ability and the way she can drive and create for herself and for others. She's been doing that all year and we needed her to have a big day today and she came out and she did."
The Blue Jays brought two powerhouses to the floor in Courtney Peterson and Megan Gaffaney who netted 20 and 18 points, respectively.
The two combined to sink three straight 3-pointers early in the second half, aiding the Blue Jays to their largest lead of the night.
"We have a couple girls who can shoot them," Skunberg said. "We did a good job of moving the ball and finding the open girls. They were going zone and we were doing a good job of skipping the ball around it."
For the seniors, it was the last time they would play on the court in an orange and black jersey, a thought that brought tears to their eyes at the end of the game.
"Us seniors have been playing with each other since first grade," DHS senior Marley McChesney reminisced. "We kind of just wanted to go out with a bang where we leave it all on the floor if it was going to be our last day or not."
The seven players (Wiler, McChesney, Kelsey Privratsky, Abby Braun, Lacey Forsness, Lexi Jordheim and Morgan Kainz) and two managers (Alexus Meduna and Mariah Mortenson) will pass the baton to the healthy helping of juniors to lead the team next season.
"The seniors all year have just done nothing but been coachable and have done nothing but come to practice every single day and work their tails off," Hayden said. "I couldn't be more proud of those seniors. It's been an unbelievable ride. ... They've started something. They've started building the legacy, hopefully, that we're trying to obtain at Dickinson High School."
Jamestown 65, Dickinson 60
DHS: Gabby Jung 24, Audrey Rodakowski 10, Peyton Selle 9, Mckenna Weiler 8, Lexi Jordheim 3, Lauren Jorda 2, Kendryn Bullinger 2.
J: Courtney Peterson 20, Megan Gaffaney 18, Kameron Selvig 9, Olivia Nihill 8, Alyssa Ukestad 6, Katherine Horgan 2, Jessica Walter 2.
Halftime: J 28, DHS 22. 3-pointers: DHS 4-13 (Jung 2-4), J 9-25 (Peterson 3-7). Free throws: DHS 12-19, J 18-26. Total fouls: DHS 19, J 18. Fouled out: DHS Selle, J Ukestad. Rebounds: DHS 40 (Rodakowski 11), J 40 (Horgan 10). Assists: DHS 7 (Selle, Jung 2), J 15 (Ukestad 5). Steals: DHS 4 (Selle 2), J 4 (Peterson 2). Blocks: DHS 6 (Jung 4), J 3 (Horgan 2). Turnovers: DHS 15, J 17. Records: DHS 8-16, J 13-10.