Tanner trio make own marks on Dickinson High Midgets boys basketball team

In 1998, "Tanner" was North Dakota's 30th most-popular boy's name, according to Social Security Administration data. Thirtieth was the name's lowest popularity for any year of that decade, save for 1990 when it was 47th. Nevertheless, 18 years la...

Dickinson High senior post Tanner Binstock, right, drives into the lane against Jamestown’s Paxton Kleinknecht last Friday at DHS gymnasium. Binstock tied his season high of eight points in the Midgets’ win. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

In 1998, “Tanner” was North Dakota’s 30th most-popular boy’s name, according to Social Security Administration data.
Thirtieth was the name’s lowest popularity for any year of that decade, save for 1990 when it was 47th. Nevertheless, 18 years later, Tanner stands as the most common name on the Dickinson High boys basketball team thanks to junior Tanner Ouellette and seniors Tanner Davidson and Tanner Binstock.
For first-year head coach Dan Glasser, the confusion was about what one would expect.
“I’ve started to go away from the name itself,” he said with a laugh. “I try to stay away from the word in general.”
Despite the same given name, all the Tanners fill different roles for the Midgets (6-4, 5-3 West Region), who currently sit in third place in the West Region. Dickinson plays at 6:45 p.m. today at Bismarck St. Mary’s and also hosts back-to-back home games on Thursday and Friday against Bismarck High and Turtle Mountain.
For the Midgets to earn some momentum in the second half of their region schedule, they’ll rely heavily on the trio to continue the strong play they’ve exhibited all season.

Davidson, or “T.D” to his coach, serves as the team’s starting point guard and has averaged 7.5 points per game this season along with more than seven assists per contest since Christmas.
“He’s catching on and realizing that he’s running the show,” Glasser said. “He doesn’t necessarily have to score to have a nice game. He has a lot of responsibilities, and scoring just isn’t one of them, but he’s fearless.”
The 6-foot-1 Davidson hit 6 of 10 3-pointers and finished with 26 points in a blowout win over Watford City Dec. 22, and the game before that, on Dec. 19, he hit the game-winning shot on a step-back jumper in the lane to beat Mandan 61-60. Davidson recognizes opportunities to get get better, though.
“With the last couple games with the assists, I haven’t been taking the best shots,” he said. “It’s been hurting our team. I’m happy about the assists, but I need better shots, and the turnovers have been high for me the last few games. I have to do what I can do best to help the team win.”
Davidson said Ouellette, or “T.O.” around practice, helps him improve on the offensive end, though. Glasser added that Ouellette, a wing player, usually draws the assignment of guarding the opposing team’s best scoring threat.
“(Ouellette) makes me get better, honestly,” Davidson said. “He’s quick. I like having guys who are good at defense guard me. He’s always working his hardest.”
Ouellette, who also stands 6-foot-1 and is a competent shooter, has averaged 5.5 points this season. On defense, Glasser said the junior proved early on he was capable of holding his own against some of the West Region’s best scorers, including St. Mary’s sophomore Cole Gendreau tonight and Bismarck High senior Conner Hellebust later this week.
“He doesn’t turn the ball over, and he makes great decisions with the ball,” Glasser said. “He never stops on defense. He’s kind of ornery that way. He doesn’t like getting scored on.”
It’s a responsibility that Ouellette has taken a lot of pride in.
“I think it’s a positive role to have because (Glasser) looks to me to shut down their perimeter players, but Shawn (Steffan) does a great job also,” Ouellette said. “We’re all strong on defense. Our zone is deadly right now.”
And Binstock, or “Binny” as he has come to be called, started the first few games of the year but was supplanted in the lineup by Ouellette, allowing the Midgets to do more full-court press, Glasser said. Binstock serves as the team’s third post player behind junior Jordan Meidinger and senior Wyatt Kainz, but has embraced his new role. He averages 3.6 points and about two rebounds per game.
“Starting isn’t that big of a deal to me,” he said. “Just however I can help the team is best.”
Davidson said the 6-foot-3 Binstock might be the most fundamentally sound post player the team has, and Glasser added that Binstock is the consummate teammate for the other players.
“He’s the perfect athlete for this basketball team,” Glasser said. “He’s always smiling and having fun, but he’s always working his butt off too.”
Binstock sometimes finds himself guarding smaller and quicker post players, but his teammates have seen that he is undeterred by such a challenge.
“He’s been doing great. Our last game (Friday against Jamestown), he had steals, he had assists. He looked like a guard,” Ouellette said. “He’s always up and always positive. He’s a great role model.”
The variety of duties they all have may differ, but sometimes having the same first name can have its advantages also.
“There are still times where coach will say ‘Tanner’ and we’ll all turn around,” Binstock said, “but sometimes it’s good to get three attentions at one time.”

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