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Titans prevail without injured Sickler: Trinity gets by Richardton-Taylor with second half surge

In a nail-biter against Richardton-Taylor, the Dickinson Trinity boys basketball team exited the locker room after halftime knowing it would without their top scorer and team leader senior guard Noah Sickler.

In a nail-biter against Richardton-Taylor, the Dickinson Trinity boys basketball team exited the locker room after halftime knowing it would without their top scorer and team leader senior guard Noah Sickler.

After trading baskets in the opening moments of the half, a blitzing surge, which carried into the fourth period, was all the separation the Titans needed as they defeated the Raiders 46-35 on Monday, Jan. 15 from Richardton-Taylor High School.

"Our bench guys came in, we started to slow it down on the offensive end, get some finishes and started guarding much better in the second half," Dickinson Trinity head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. "But we can't wait till halftime to do that all the time. We have to be the aggressor and that's one thing this team needs to do."

Late in the second quarter, Sickler appeared to suffer a shoulder injury after diving into a scrum for loose ball. Spending moments on the hardwood in pain, Sickler was assisted back to the locker room. He did not return and immediately was driven to a local hospital for further evaluations.

After the injury, Richardton-Taylor (3-8, Region 7 0-3) closed to within one after a basket inside by junior guard Elijah Vogle and free throws from senior guard Nathan Schwartz.

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The Raiders were blown out by 44 points in an early season contest against the Titans. This time around, Richardton-Taylor was certainly more competitive.

"The kids played hard, especially in the first half," Raiders head coach Shawn Alder said. "We played really hard, rotated on defense really well. Things started clicking, things that we've worked on all year, and it finally came together today."

Despite leading 24-23 at the break, Grinsteinner let his kids know that they were being outplayed.

"The message was that they were playing harder than us," Grinsteinner said. "They came out and they had a great attitude and a great start to the game. They were the aggressor the whole first half. I thought they took it at us and we backed down."

Richardton-Taylor took the lead early in the second half after a beautiful turn-around lay-in from senior forward Matthew Naumann. The two teams traded baskets until Trinity vaulted away with a 15-0 run.

Senior guard Alec Sickler stole the ball in the open court. With Schwartz chasing, Sickler was able to absorb contact, finish the lay-up while being fouled, and knock down the free throw to put the Titans up 29-27.

Trinity forced errant passes and turnovers defensively. Meanwhile, if they weren't finishing in transition, the Titans did a better job moving the ball and picking their spots against the Raiders zone.

Senior guard Colton Jones ran across the baseline from corner to corner, looking to fire whenever the opportunity presented itself. As the clocked ticked toward the end of the third period, Jones was found wide-open on the left wing and connected on a 3-pointer to give the Titans a 34-27 advantage.

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"Our mentality on the offensive end is to work inside-out," Jones said. "We tried to get the ball inside and we were struggling with that. So we just worked on reversing the ball and that led to open shots. We had the confidence to knock them down."

Jones opened the fourth period with another 3-pointer and added a lay-up with the run. He led all players with 17 points, scoring 11 in the second half.

Vogle led Richardton-Taylor with nine points.

Alec Sickler added eight points while senior forwards Easton Walby and Jacob Kubas each scored six points as the Titans rebounded from the loss of their leader.

"We knew he's a big part of the team." Jones said. "With him going out, we knew we had to stick together as a team and play together cause that's how we were going to pull this one out. That's what we tried to do and we came out with it."

Dickinson Trinity 46, Richardton-Taylor 35

DT 13 11 10 15

RT 8 15 4 8

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DT: Colton Jones 17, Alec Sickler 8, Easton Walby 6, Jacob Kubas 6, Noah Sickler 5, Cole Fitterer 4.

RT: Elijah Vogle 9, Collin Kuntz 7, Matthew Naumann 7, Nathan Schwartz 6, Preston Floberg 2, Wyatt Kuhn 2, Logan Kuntz 2.

3-pointers: DT 4 (Jones 3), RT 0. Free throws: DT 6-9, RT 13-19. Total fouls: DT X, RT 14. Records: DT 8-5 (Region 7 4-0), RT 3-8 (Region 7 0-3).

Related Topics: RICHARDTON-TAYLOR RAIDERS
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