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Saints stampede past Midgets defense in season-ending contest

BISMARCK -- The Dickinson High boys basketball team has relied on their defense to shut down potent offenses and ultimately win games. In a state qualifying game in the West Region tournament, Bismarck St. Mary's was unphased by the Midgets effor...

Bismarck St. Mary's senior John Nordberg intercepts Midget senior Conner Hoenke's pass to Braden Selinger in a West Region game on Saturday, March 3 at the Bismarck Event Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Bismarck St. Mary's senior John Nordberg intercepts Midget senior Conner Hoenke's pass to Braden Selinger in a West Region game on Saturday, March 3 at the Bismarck Event Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

BISMARCK - The Dickinson High boys basketball team has relied on their defense to shut down potent offenses and ultimately win games.

In a state qualifying game in the West Region tournament, Bismarck St. Mary's was unphased by the Midgets effort. The Saints excelled at moving the ball, in turn leaving perimeter shooters open. St. Mary's went 6-of-13 from the three-point arc in the first half with each shot coming from the hands at a different player.

Their first half assault launched the Saints to a 68-55 win over the Midgets on Saturday, March 3 at the Bismarck Event Center, sending them to the Class A State Tournament.

"They just came out and punched us in the face and we weren't ready at all," Dickinson head coach Dan Glasser said. "That's their strength, is spreading it out, attacking the gaps and kicking it to the open person. They're good at that and we knew that going in. The one thing we weren't able to do today is score."

In addition to struggling to stop St. Mary's, the Midgets couldn't score, shooting a 36 percent in the opening half that felt lower, as some drives they would even make it to the basket.

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The Saints forced 16 turnovers and earned seven steals, scoring 20 points off turnovers in the opening half.

"The way we were playing defense we had one of our big guys, we didn't really match up with them as we were starting (sophomore Tallon Klatt)," Dickinson senior Dawson Bechtold said. "They are pretty much all guards so when we have him in the paint it's hard to stop those shooters that get outside the three-point line."

Five minutes into the game, Bismarck St. Mary's led 19-6.

The Midgets were the underdogs, coming into the tournament as the eighth seed and battling to make it to the state qualifying game after chosen last in the WDA in early season polls.

"It's just tough ending your season since you've been playing with all these guys your whole life," Bechtold said. "It's tough seeing it come to an end, but we do need to take into account how much everyone looked down on us and how we came back and were able to win a game at WDA. We did a lot more than people expected of us at the beginning of the year."

The Midgets started collecting rebounds with more aggression, led by seniors Braden Selinger and junior Martin Lopez with 10 and nine respectively on the night. Dickinson earned 40 boards total while St. Mary's collected 26. Lopez sprung into action on the defensive side of the floor, earning a a game-high four steals.

To start the second half, Bechtold hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Minutes later Dickinson sophomore Jaiden Wright added another, shrinking the deficit to 16. Just past the midway point of the half, the Midgets put away six straight points, bringing the score to 62-45.

"They just kept attacking the rim, Braden did some good things and Dawson hit some big shots. That was good because that's what I wanted to see. I didn't want us to roll over and die."

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Bechtold and Selinger each had 10 points for the Midgets behind senior Krew Mathern who netted 14.

"We just wanted to go out there and represent our school, show some pride and show that we still can fight," Bechtold said.

With around two minutes remaining and the Saints lead near 20 points, both coaches swapped out starters for bench players. Dickinson seniors Sheldon Meyer and Aiden Levorsen, who hardly see the floor, both put numbers on the scoreboard.

Levorsen drove to the basket to score with 1:53 on the clock. A minute later, Meyer hit a 3-pointer, momentarily followed by a free throw to end the scoring.

"We have seven amazing seniors who may not be the best basketball players in the world, but they're awesome people," Glasser said. "It's just a pleasure and a privilege to be able to coach them."

Bismarck St. Mary's 68, Dickinson 55

D: Krew Mathern 14, Braden Selinger 10, Dawson Bechtold 10. Conner Hoenke 8, Sheldon Meyer 4, Martin Lopez 4, Jaiden Wright 3, Aidan Levorsen 2.

BSM: John Nordberg 18, Luke Kambeitz 16, Ben Schmidt 9, Hudson Bradley 7, Jaxson Wiseman 7, Cole Gendreau 5, Drew Dosch 5, Isaac Armstrong 1.

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Halftime: BSM 44, D 18. 3-pointers: D 4-15 (Bechtold 2-7), BSM 7-16 (Schmidt 2-3). Free throws: D 1-5, BSM 15-21. Total fouls: D 17, BSM 14. Technical fouls: BSM Nordberg. Rebounds: D 40 (Selinger 10), BSM 26 (Kambeitz 5). Assists: D 5 (Lopez 4), BSM 8 (Gendreau, Nordberg 3). Steals: D 10 (Lopez 4), BSM 8 (Nordberg 2). Blocks: D 2 (Selinger, Bechtold), BSM 3 (Gendreau, Bradley, Armstrong). Turnovers: D 25, BSM 20. Records: D 8-17, BSM 9-15.

Dickinson High senior Krew Mathern slams into a Bismarck St. Mary's defender during a state qualifying game at the West Region basketball tournament on Saturday, March 3 at the Bismarck Event Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High senior Krew Mathern slams into a Bismarck St. Mary's defender during a state qualifying game at the West Region basketball tournament on Saturday, March 3 at the Bismarck Event Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

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