Posted On: 03/9/18 11:55 PM
North Dakota Class B Region 7 hoops fans are getting ready for the final night of the Region 7 tournament in Hazen. Here’s a quick look at the championship matchup.
Beulah and Dickinson Trinity have a rich history full of postseason battles. Dickinson Trinity Head Coach Gregg Grinsteinner and Beulah Head Coach Jeremy Brandt have built two powerhouse programs respected around the state.
Now, they will collide for a region championship fight. Both teams have combined to win 7 out of the last 8 region championships (DT 4, Beulah 3). New England broke through in 2015. Region 7 fans want to know how this year’s battle will unfold.
We have to start with their last meeting, which was in late January. Beulah got up 19-5 early and never looked back winning 55-37. Trinity never got into an offensive flow. Their two leaders were Easton Walby (14 pts) and Noah Sickler (11 pts).
Arik Knopik is playing much better now than he was back then. Knopik is averaging a double-double at regionals and playing to his full ability. During the earlier meeting, Knopik didn’t have an impact with only 2 points.
Beulah will have to keep him off the boards and make sure he doesn’t get that short corner jumper look on the baseline. The short corner jumper has been a bread and butter for him at this tournament. Trinity’s other clutch player this tournament has been Easton Walby.
Walby is doing a great job of not forcing it and getting quality looks. He’s 5 for 9 on 3-pointers this tournament and Beulah will have to push him off the 3-point line. Trinity’s wildcard players are Colton Jones and Alec Sickler.
Neither one did damage in the first matchup but Jones proved he can step up and make those mid-range jumpers, scoring 16 against Hettinger-Scranton. Sickler scored 10 in the first round against Killdeer. Somehow those two have to combine for 15 points for Trinity to win.
Everyone knows Beulah’s key offensive players – Jacob Weigel, Logan Miller, and Derek Ferebee. Weigel poses the most threat for Dickinson Trinity. Last time they played Weigel scored 17 points to lead Beulah’s attack.
Weigel is 2 of 9 on 3-pointers this tournament. Whoever guards Weigel will have to force him to dribble and keep him off rhythm. If Wegiel gets hot, it’s a wrap for Dickinson Trinity.
Ferebee had 13 with Noah Sickler picking him up and Miller finished with an active 8 points.
Dickinson Trinity will have to slow Ferebee down and he’s coming off a big night with 28 against Heart River in the semis. There is no Noah Sickler to slow him down.
Sickler is arguably the best defender in the state. Now Trinity has to find someone to defend Ferebee with. Who’s going to step up and embrace that challenge?
Trinity fans already know what Miller can do. Last year he anchored Beulah during a slow start with 22 first-half points in the region championship. Expect him to come out strong from the start.
Trinity has a tough question of setting up their defensive assignments for Beulah’s big 3. Miller can get his floater off against anyone, so height doesn’t bother him.
Knopik is probably the best Trinity defender, so he’ll probably guard Ferebee. Then it gets tough. Do you go athlete for athlete, belly to belly, my best seniors vs. your best seniors?
If that’s the case Walby has to pick up Weigel or Miller. But Coach Grinsteinner has been known to throw out a tweak at regionals. He may go zone against this Beulah team because they have a tendency to settle for 3s, so keep that in mind.
For Beulah defensively we should expect pressure. We saw Dickinson Trinity struggle with Killdeer’s length and Hettinger-Scranton’s quickness. Beulah is like a hybrid of Killdeer and Hettinger-Scranton – They’ve got length and quickness.
Not as much length as Killdeer or quickness at Hettinger-Scranton. But enough of both to be disruptive. Expect to see full-court and half-court in spurts because Beulah’s depth won’t allow for it all game.
Beulah has shot bad from FT line two night in a row – 55 percent.
Beulah settled for 3s during the regular season. They are best when attacking.
Aaron Vallejo vs. Jacob Kubas matchup. Vallejo won last time and energized his team. Whichever grinder wins this matchup will energize their team and fans.
Can Trinity withstand another hot Beulah start or will they break?
Trinity gave up baseline drives all night against Hettinger-Scranton. They’ll need to fix that or Miller and Ferebee will feast.
Beulah has to box out Knopik. If they don’t he’ll terrorize them.
Will Beulah press to rattle Trinity and force turnovers.
Don’t forget about Trey Brandt. The small eighth-grade guard has made clutch plays for Beulah late in games this season multiple times.