Trinity Titans boys basketball Class B state tournament opponent resembles Region 7 teams
MINOT -- Just because Dickinson Trinity's boys basketball team hasn't faced Kenmare yet this season doesn't mean the Titans don't know what to expect. Throughout the season, Trinity has seen a handful of teams with a similar style or personnel. I...
MINOT - Just because Dickinson Trinity’s boys basketball team hasn’t faced Kenmare yet this season doesn’t mean the Titans don’t know what to expect.
Throughout the season, Trinity has seen a handful of teams with a similar style or personnel. In a way, the Titans have been preparing for the Honkers all year.
Trinity (20-4) and Kenmare (21-3) will tip-off at 7:15 p.m. today at the Minot State Dome in the quarterfinals of the Class B state tournament.
The Titans have watched film with a trained eye and have arranged practices accordingly to accurately replicate what the Honkers will present.
“I’d compare them to a Beulah or a Heart River,” Titans head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. “You play against Heart River or against Beulah, they’re going to press the snot out of you, and you have to be able to match that. We’ve got to be able to keep our composure.”
In preparation - much like they have all year - the Titans have gone through drills with a regular five-man offensive unit taking on anywhere from six to nine defenders.
“Kenmare likes to press and cause a lot of chaos,” senior forward Zach Kubas said, “so once it’s just 5-on-5, it opens up so much more.”
On offense, Kenmare comes equipped with 6-foot-4 senior forward Tanner King and 5-foot-10 guard Hunter Rodin.
“They have a post kid who’s pretty good on the block, and they have a very good point guard. This kid really makes them go. He can get the ball to the rim anytime he wants to,” Grinsteinner said. “Everybody else is basically 3-point shooters. They want to play four-out, one-in or five-out. They want to drive it and really, really shoot the 3. They want to push tempo.”
If the desired pace of play sounds familiar, that’s not by accident because Trinity has wanted to play at the same uptempo pace all season. However, Trinity will have a size advantage in the post, which starts with senior Brock Messer, junior Shawn Stoltz, Kubas and sophomore Noah Sickler.
“One thing about tournament time, you never know. That basket gets smaller and shots are harder to come by. That’s why we talk about working inside-outside,” Grinsteinner said. “Zach has really worked hard on his footwork and finesse game. He’s getting opportunities to score and get to the free-throw line. Brock, we’ve challenged him to be a lot more physical. He can own the paint when he wants to. He’s physical down there, and he’s not giving up easy plays.”
On the defensive side, Trinity’s post players will be asked to step away from the paint a little more to help defend the perimeter - much like how they would against Hettinger-Scranton, Grinsteinner said.
Kenmare, on film, doesn’t appear to be a back-to-the-basket team; the Honkers will try to create some separation on the scoreboard with the outside shot, so all five Trinity defenders have to be prepared for that.
“They can really shoot the ball. They have some good athletes and if you leave them open, they’re going to make it. You have to guard all of them,” Kubas said. “They don’t really have a guy like (Hettinger-Scranton Mr. Basketball nominee Hayden) Sadowsky, who you just can’t leave, period, or else he’ll put 40 on you. But they all can shoot the ball very well.”
Trinity guards Willy Jahner and Lucas Jones will be guarding Rodin for much of the game.
“We have to be able to guard our guy. It’s kind of similar to a Four Winds team. They pressure on defense, a full-court pressure, and offensively, they have a lot of kids that can shoot it,” Jahner said. “We have to be able to guard our guy and help when we can. But if we win our 1-on-1 matchup, we should be fine.”
Grinsteinner said in addition to making sure his players are prepared on the court, they must also be ready mentally.
“We’re confident. We had a good Region 7 Tournament, but it all starts over again,” he said. “You have to do it three days in a row. If it doesn’t happen Thursday, you don’t give yourself a chance to play Saturday night.”