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Midgets suffer blow-out loss to Bismarck St. Mary's in WDA quarterfinals

“We just need to step up and play what we are capable of playing...,” head coach Dan Glasser said.

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Dickinson loss their first game in the WDA tournament in Bismarck.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

BISMARCK — In recent meetings between Dickinson and Bismarck St. Mary's, games have came down to which team were more physical from the onset. Often being a tough back and forth back and forth deep into the second half.

That was not the case Thursday afternoon as the Midgets were unable to slow the Saints' dominant physicality at the basket in an 85-42 blow-out loss in their quarterfinals match-up at the Bismarck Event Center.

The Western Dakota Association tournament journey began poorly for head coach Dan Glasser, who had hoped his team would maintain their late season brutishness.

“We were just outplayed,” Glasser said. “They were much more physical than us and I tried to explain to them what it was going to be like, but we don't have any kids that played in the WDA tournament before and it showed.”

The Saints were able to build on their lead early and often, going on three 9-0 runs in the first.

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The Midgets, touted for their own hard-nosed play in the paint, were forced to work the perimeter to stay in the game. Dickinson created good looks courtesy of screen passes, but found that the majority of their shots came in forced positions with the shot clock looming.

St. Mary’s height proved to be a difficult obstacle for the Midgets, who lost rebounds consistently on both sides of the court — providing the Saints with ample second chance opportunities below the rim. Superior ball handling, accurate passes and physical drives in the paint secured a victory for Bismarck St. Mary's early.

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Grant Bittner covers the ball holder as the Saints set up their offensive play.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

“We have to take every possession offensively and defensively and we have to get something out of it experience wise,” Glasser said. “We just need to step up and play what we are capable of playing, we need to be physical, we need to match the other team's physicality. Instead of just saying all this stuff, we need to show it.”

By halftime St. Mary’s had extended their lead to 20 points heading into the locker with a 40-18 lead.

Dickinson's struggles continued in the second, but despite a wide margin the Midgets never stopped competing — an ode to their tenacity and ability to maintain focus in every situation.

Bismark's physical play did not come without a cost, as they provided the Midgets multiple opportunities at the line. Dickinson found repeated success at the free throw line, garnering 24 points in the second half alone.

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Britton Cranston is set to be part of the Dickinson State University basketball program this fall.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Down the stretch both sides moved to the bench, sitting their starting lineup and allowing their bench to gain experience and development minutes on the court.

With the loss, Dickinson is not out of the tourney as double-elimination puts them on the outside looking in. The Midgets will face the #8 Jamestown, who lost their own quarterfinal match-up against #1 Minot.

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Glasser said that no extra motivation is needed as they face their first consolation bracket opponents, citing embarrassment and redemption as being motivation enough.

“Like every game that we have played the whole year, we are going to take what we can from it and learn from it,” Glasser said. “I'm excited about what team is going to come out and play against Jamestown tomorrow.”

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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