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Midgets refuse to lose: DHS girls rally from 14 points down to win thriller

Down by 14 points in the first half, the Dickinson High girls basketball team were not going to be denied. Midgets sophomore forward Audrey Rodakowski calmly drained a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left in regulation, sending the Dickinson...

DHS senior guard Lacey Forsness dribbles the ball up the floor against Minot on Friday, Jan. 26 from the DHS Gym. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
DHS senior guard Lacey Forsness dribbles the ball up the floor against Minot on Friday, Jan. 26 from the DHS Gym. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

Down by 14 points in the first half, the Dickinson High girls basketball team were not going to be denied.

Midgets sophomore forward Audrey Rodakowski calmly drained a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left in regulation, sending the Dickinson faithful into a frenzy following a 55-54 victory over Minot on Friday, Jan. 26 from DHS gym.

"Exhilarating, it was almost like a freak-out moment," Rodakowski about the roars from the crowd. "It's awesome to know that your whole town is supporting you and your basketball team."

Trailing by one with the ball in the waning second, Midgets senior guard McKenna Weiler's high-arcing, go-ahead shot bounced high off of the back rim, but Rodakowski tracked down the offensive rebound and was fouled.

With Dickinson in the double-bonus, the sophomore stepped to the line with two shots at the charity stripe and a chance to win it.

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"I was very nervous," Rodakowski said. "Then I realized my teammates. Whether I missed or made the shots, knowing that my teammates had my back made me feel super confident. I still had the nerves sitting in the back of my head, so I cleared them out, took a deep breath and just went for it."

After Rodakowski hit nothing but net on her first attempt, Minot asked for time. With added nerves, she rattled in the second free throw as Minot's heave from three-quarters court was short. With time to think about the second free throw, did her nerves increase?

"Slightly," Rodakowski said. "I tried to keep my composure and my teammates reassured me that it was going to be ok."

Moments earlier, Rodakowski's effort on the defensive end set-up her clutch free throws. She drew a charging foul on Majettes senior guard Alli McCoy with 39.7 second remaining.

On the ensuing possession, Dickinson junior guard Gabby Jung was stripped of the ball driving into the lane, but with a Minot player streaking open down the floor, their outlet pass was fired too strong and out of bounds, the last of the Majettes' 31 turnovers.

"We just didn't take care of the ball as well as we needed to tonight," Minot head coach Bernie Wasser said. "A lot of that had to do with Dickinson. They came out hungry. They played harder than we did tonight."

While strong offensive execution and defensive pressure bookended in the Midgets' first half performance, Dickinson (5-9, West Region 4-8) trailed entering the locker rooms due to a slump sandwiched in between.

From the opening tip, Dickinson crisply moved the ball from side to side, resulting in good looks and quality shots from the various half-court sets they ran.

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The Midgets patiently got it inside to Rodakowski, scoring on a turnaround in the paint and giving DHS an early 8-6 lead.

The Majettes (7-7, West Region 7-5) responded, tallying 17 of the next 19 points put on the scoreboard.

Majettes sophomore guard Becca Tschetter nailed a pair of 3-pointers within that stretch, helping push the Minot advantage to 14, the biggest lead of the game.

However, Dickinson sliced into the deficit with hard defensive traps in the full and half court, resulting in Minot traveling violations, double dribbles and errant passes thrown either out of bounds or into the hands of the Midget defenders.

In the final minute of the first half, Jung intercepted a lofting pass and dribbled the length of the floor for an easy lay-in. Before the horn sounded, Rodakowski connected with a step-through floater, cutting the Majettes advantage to 32-25 entering halftime.

Jung led all scorers with 23 points. She also added six steals and three blocks. Sophomore guard Peyton Selle added 15 points and five steals while Rodakowski, following her game-tying and game-winning free throws finished with 10 points and five rebounds.

Minot guard Allie Nelson notched 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting to lead the Majettes.

Without that late-half surge, odds are Dickinson's chances to electrify the crowd on this night is just a fantasy.

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"We just stuck to the game-plan honestly," Dickinson head coach James Hayden said. "That was one of the things we talked about before the game. Our togetherness was really apparent,

they were really focused on playing as a team and as together as they could."

Dickinson 55, Minot 54

M 32 22

D 25 30

M: Allie Nelson 18, Becca Tschetter 11, Alli McCoy 8, Brenna Tschetter 6, Paige Rosencrans 4, Brooke Nelson 4, Gwen Mathews 3.

D: Gabby Jung 23, Peyton Selle 15, Audrey Rodakowski 10, Kelsey Privatski 4, McKenna Weiler 3.

Halftime: M 32, D 25. 3-pointers: M 3 (Be. Tschetter 3), D 3 (Jung 2). Free throws: M 9-11, D 14-19. Total fouls: M 22, D 12. Fouled out: 2 (M: McCoy, Br. Tschetter). Rebounds: M 32 (Br. Tschetter 10), D 25 (Rodakowski 5). Assists: M 4 (McCoy 3), D 5 (Marley McChesney 2, Jung 2). Steals: M 5 (A. Nelson 2), D 16 (Jung 6). Blocks: M 0, D 3 (Jung 3). Turnovers: M 31, D 20. Records: M 7-7 (West Region 7-5), D 5-9 (West Region 4-8).

DHS sophomore forward Audrey Rodakowski fires the game-winning free throw against Minot on Friday, Jan. 26 from the DHS Gym. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
DHS sophomore forward Audrey Rodakowski fires the game-winning free throw against Minot on Friday, Jan. 26 from the DHS Gym. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

Related Topics: DICKINSON HIGH SCHOOLDICKINSON MIDGETS
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