Titans tackle Bison at the end: Trinity boys victorious at home in a nip-and-tuck with Hazen
In the final moments of a closely contested battle against Hazen, the Dickinson Trinity boys basketball team leaned on timely execution. Up by three points with under a minute remaining in regulation, the Titans inbounded the ball to senior forwa...
In the final moments of a closely contested battle against Hazen, the Dickinson Trinity boys basketball team leaned on timely execution.
Up by three points with under a minute remaining in regulation, the Titans inbounded the ball to senior forward Easton Walby. Following a pass to forward Aric Knopik standing in the high post, the junior delivered an entry pass over the top to Jacob Kubas. The senior post player maintained body control and finished a reverse lay-in while being fouled.
Kubas' shot, along with a pair of game-sealing free throws from Walby, powered the Titans to a 53-52 victory over the Bison on Thursday, Feb. 15 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
"We ran an out of bounds play. Aric flashed the high post, and we always seal it so he can throw the lob in for an easy lay-up," Kubas said. "I had guys collapse on me when I got the ball, so I shot-faked and went up through their arms. I was excited, obviously. It helped us get a better lead down the stretch and get the W."
The Titans' surge closing out the contest put away a Hazen team that valiantly competed from deficits throughout the night.
Following a closely played first quarter, the Titans established a brief cushion in the second quarter.
After a 3-pointer by Trinity senior guard Alec Sickler, fellow senior guard Colton Jones converted on a breakaway lay-up and floater in the lane, bumping their advantage to 19-13 and leading to a Hazen timeout with 4:14 remaining in the half.
Sophomore guard Isaac Doll snaked into the lane, utilizing a euro-step maneuver for an easy two. After a lay-up from senior guard Payton Leintz, junior guard Jayce Zuern finished a transition break with a lay-up of his own, knotting up the score at 23 at the half.
However, considering how the conclusion played out, Hazen head coach Benjamin Nelson wishes his kids played with a level of urgency for the full 32 minutes.
"Sometimes we don't take advantage offensively," Nelson said. "It takes us a while to get into our flow, I think that was our biggest issue today. It took a while before we got aggressive offensively, we play better when we are being aggressive offensively. We kind of hung back and it took us a while to figure out what was going to work for us and in the end, it kind of bit us."
As the regional tournament quickly approaches, Titans head coach Greg Grinsteinner appreciated the competition Hazen presented, as a back-and-forth game offers up challenges that are hard to replicate.
"It gets you in a lot of situations that you normally don't talk about in practice," Grinsteinner said. "We did a lot of situational work all week to get ready for this game and we talked to our kids about having to value possessions. Sometimes when you see teams that are going to play zone, you're going to have to make the extra pass. You're going to have to trust that we have to get post touches. Just because a team plays zone, our post guys need to touch the ball in order to get the perimeter."
Doll led the Bison with 14 points while Zuern added 10 points.
Walby led all scores with 20 points, shooting 4-for-6 from deep.
The senior forward was the biggest beneficiary of Trinity's patient offense. The senior drained three 3-pointers to open up the second half and another in the fourth quarter, giving the Titans a 46-44 lead, one they would not relinquish.
"Everyone was just making the extra pass, I was just waiting for the ball, " Walby said. "I had my feet ready to shoot and was just feeling good today, I guess."
Dickinson Trinity 53, Hazen 52
H 9 14 13 16
DT 10 13 13 17
H: Isaac Doll 14, Jayce Zuern 10, Garrett Ward 9, Payton Leintz 8, Josh Bitterman 7, Cullen Traiser 4.
DT: Easton Walby 20, Colton Jones 11, Alec Sickler 8, Aric Knopik 6, Jacob Kubas 6, Kaden Kuntz 2.
3-pointers: H 3 (Doll 2), DT 7 (Walby 4). Free throws: H 3-6, DT 6-11. Total fouls: H 12, DT 10. Technical fouls: 1 (H: Leintz). Rebounds: H 24 (Doll 4), DT 30 (Kubas 9). Assists: H 1 (Ward 1), DT 8 (Jones 3). Steals: H 11 (Leintz 4), DT 2 (Sickler 1, Jones 1). Blocks: H 1 (Zuern), DT 1 (Kubas 1). Turnovers: H 3, DT 14. Records: H 4-16 (Region 7 3-8), DT 12-8 (Region 7 7-3).