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Titans turn up defensive intensity against New England

Trinity’s defense harassed the Tigers all night long in their first Region 7 game of the season.

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Trinity junior guard Anthony Spradley (25) guarding New England sophomore forward Jaren Rafferty (21) closely as he drives to the basket in the first quarter on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at New England High School in New England.
Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press

NEW ENGLAND, N.D. — The best defense in basketball is when you simply don’t allow the other team to put up shots.

That was how the Titans attacked the Tigers Tuesday night as they devoured New England’s offense on their way to a 63-27 road victory.

Once the second quarter began, Trinity locked down on defense, making it nearly impossible for the Tigers to cross mid-court. Several ten second violations and deflected passes made life hard for New England.

After being up 14-8 at the end of the first quarter, the Titans (1-0, 5-4) outscored the Tigers (0-1, 2-4) 16-5 in the second, with their defense being the catalyst for their surge.

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New England senior guard Nathan Kaufman (24) loses the ball to Trinity senior forward Trever Jassek (34) in the first quarter on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at New England High School in New England.
Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press

“The competition we had over Christmas told us we have to step our game up to another level and it starts on the defensive end,” Trinity head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. “Our defense in practice has been outstanding. Communication is getting better but we have a long way to go. That’s one thing these guys are realizing. We do run the stuff that we’re good at doing, we’re going to be a good basketball team.”

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If not for New England’s Nathan Kaufman hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the half, it would’ve been a more dominating quarter for Trinity. It wasn’t just one player getting involved on defense too. If there was pressure on the ball at mid court and a frantic pass was made, a Titan was typically in a good spot to get a hand on the ball.

Their frantic energy forced a number of turnovers and created many fast-break opportunities. Titans sophomore guard Jake Shobe had a pair of steals at the end of the third quarter leading 51-31, which summed up how the game was going for Trinity.

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Trinity sophomore guard Jake Shobe (24) drives to the hoop in the third quarter against New England on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at New England High School in New England.
Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press

Senior Trever Jassek led the Titans in scoring with 14 and was the beneficiary of the offense opening up in transition. Shobe chipped in 11.

“They were trying to take away our perimeter stuff,” Grinsteinner said. “I thought our post guys did a nice job of finding creases, especially after the first quarter. We started finding guys and reversed the ball once or twice and found guys that were wide open.”

Senior forwards Drew Kovash and Trenton Bertelsen had eight and six points, respectively, working down low.

With a large lead intact, Grinsteinner emptied the bench with 5:18 to get some younger players some game time. Twelve of the 13 players that got in the game registered points. Trinity made one 3-pointer on the night, compared to four for New England.

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Trinity senior forward Drew Kovash (22) goes after the long outlet pass in the second quarter against New England on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at New England High School in New England.
Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press

Kaufman was the only Tigers player in double figures with 11. No one else had more than four points.

It was both teams first game this season in Region 7 play. They’ll each have two more games this week on Thursday and Saturday. The Tigers will host Bowman County on Thursday and take on New Town at Trinity High School on Saturday.

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The Titans will have another road contest on Thursday at Richardton-Taylor, followed by a home game against Flasher.

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Trinity senior guard Aiden Haich (30) contests New England sophomore forward Jaren Rafferty's (21) shot in the first quarter on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at New England High School in New England.
Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press

“What we’re finding out is that we haven’t played a lot of home games,” Grinsteinner said. “That’s a thing we talk about, having that road warrior mentality. The mental toughness has to come through. Our last five games have been on the road and that’s something we have to continue to build off.”

BOX SCORE
DT - 14 16 21 12, 63
NE - 8 5 8 6, 27
Trinity: Trever Jassek 14, Jake Shobe 11, Drew Kovash 8, Trenton Bertelsen 6, Ty Dassinger, Cade Fitterer, Thomas Jacobs, Ty Praus 4, Aiden Haich, Jeremiah Jilek, Luke Shobe, Anthony Spradley 2; New England: Nathan Kaufman 11, Zack Jalbert, Noah Madler 4, Tallen Binstock 3, Miguel Carrion, Matthew Bock 2, Jaren Rafferty 1.

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Trinity sophomore forward Ty Dassinger (14) gets the easy layup in the third quarter against New England on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at New England High School in New England.
Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press

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