Super Sophomores

When Jarl Abrahamson makes a no-look pass to a cutting Joe Hanstad while Nate Moody sets a screen, keep in mind the trio have been working on those moves together since the second grade.

Nate Moody, Joe Hanstad, Jarl Abrahamson
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson High sophomores, left to right, Nate Moody, Joe Hanstad and Jarl Abrahamson have played key roles in the Midgets' march to the Class A state boys basketball tournament. Hanstad is the state's leading scorer, Abrahamson leads the West Region in assists and Moody has exceled since being inserted into the starting lineup midway through the regular season.

When Jarl Abrahamson makes a no-look pass to a cutting Joe Hanstad while Nate Moody sets a screen, keep in mind the trio have been working on those moves together since the second grade.

"We all get along so well," Hanstad said. "We're a really tight group. ... We all know what we're going to do at the right time and that's definitely been helping us a lot."

About nine years after their basketball careers began, the Dickinson High sophomores will be in the starting lineup when the Midgets meet Grand Forks Red River in the quarterfinals of the Class A state tournament at 7 p.m. today at the Fargodome.

Although the trip to state was a bit unexpected, first-year head coach John Wilson had a feeling the younger Midgets would play a vital role in the team's success this season.

He just didn't expect them to be doing as well as they are.


"We knew it was going to be a growing period and to be honest with you, I'm kind of amazed things did turn around for those three right away," said Wilson, who replaced Dean Winczewski after spending four years as his top assistant.

Helping Dickinson to a 13-9 record and their third consecutive trip to the state tournament, the underclassmen silenced any doubters who projected a rebuilding year for the team.

The Midgets also left little argument as to who helped them reach this point.

Hanstad, a smooth 6-foot-3 forward, is the state's leading scorer at 27 points per game. He also pulls down seven rebounds and dishes out four assists a night while shooting 57 percent from the field and 87 percent from the free-throw line.

"He's fun to play with just because he gets you the ball too. That's a big key," Abrahamson said. "He knows how to pass and he can score whenever he wants. You know if you give him the ball, it's got a chance at going in."

While Hanstad is the leading scorer on the state's highest-scoring team -- the Midgets average 74 points per game -- he wouldn't be enjoying such a successful season without his teammates.

There is likely no one on Dickinson's team more important in getting Hanstad the rock than Abrahamson, a 5-foot-8 point guard who leads the West Region in assists at 5.3 per game.

Abrahamson's transition into a starting role hasn't come without some lumps, however.


His assist-to-turnover ratio took a dip during the West Region tournament but he's still turning the ball over just three times a game.

"I thought people were going to try and pressure him a little bit right away and he's done great job of handling that pressure," Wilson said.

Moody is in the same boat.

After beginning the season in a reserve role, the 6-foot-2 forward was inserted into the starting lineup and hasn't disappointed. He's averaging eight points and five rebounds a game while shooting 48 percent from the field.

Wilson said the biggest challenge is keeping Moody in the paint, where he is needed because of Dickinson's lack of size.

"He's a kid, who in his heart, wants to be a perimeter player," Wilson said. "He's a kid who can go down and physically be a presence in the paint. ... He gets all the big posts we go up against. It's been a learning experience for him. As the year's gone by, it's getting better. Getting that experience is going to pay dividends for him in the long run."

Wilson, a rookie in his own right, said seeing the three sophomores step into major roles this season was a welcome surprise.

"To have three sophomores come in and take over our scoring, rebounding and ball handling, it's kind of an interesting storyline to our team," Wilson said.


Not surprisingly, the team has set the bar high for the state tournament.

The Midgets feel they can get past Red River today and make a run at a state title.

But, even if they don't make it to the top this weekend, Hanstad said just getting to the state tournament is something for the underclassmen to build on when they start thinking about next season.

"Us sophomores, we were talking that we've got to go to state every year now or it'll seem like a disappointment," Hanstad said with a laugh.

What To Read Next
Get Local