Jimmies head to the Black Hills this weekendComing off a short week, it’s time for a long trip. The Jamestown College basketball teams hit the road, again, this weekend. After playing Dickinson State on Sunday, it was a short turnaround before jumping back on the bus to head for the Black Hills and road games this weekend at South Dakota Mines and Black Hills State. “It wasn’t much of a homestand,” JC men’s coach Jeff Trumbauer said. “Six of our first seven games are on the road in the conference and so now we’re just about done with these road trips.”
By: By Scott Throlson, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Coming off a short week, it’s time for a long trip.
The Jamestown College basketball teams hit the road, again, this weekend. After playing Dickinson State on Sunday, it was a short turnaround before jumping back on the bus to head for the Black Hills and road games this weekend at South Dakota Mines and Black Hills State.
“It wasn’t much of a homestand,” JC men’s coach Jeff Trumbauer said. “Six of our first seven games are on the road in the conference and so now we’re just about done with these road trips.”
The Jimmies will wrap up the first half of the Dakota Athletic Conference season with what is annually one of the toughest, along with easily the longest, trip on the slate. But the preparation stays much the same.
“I don’t know if preparation is that much different,” Trumbauer said. “We leave a day earlier. We make sure we get down there, get a decent night’s rest, but it was kind of a short week. We played Sunday night and if you don’t take a day off in there, you worry about fatigue. So we gave our guys Monday off and spent some time in the film room and just kept them off their legs. Now we’ve got a short week with three practices to get ready for South Dakota Tech.”
A schedule front-loaded with road games isn’t the best thing in the world for a young, inexperienced team. But the Jimmies (9-9, 2-3 DAC) have persevered. They’ve picked up two road wins, and had a chance to win two others.
“Having a young team and then being on the road all the time is not a great combination, but it is what it is,” Trumbauer said. “One of the things I’ve seen with our team right now is that every conference game, we’ve come out pretty strong. We’ve had a good lead in every game. It might be a 10-point lead, it might be an eight-point lead, and then we kind of hit that emotional or mental wall and start to have some breakdowns.
“That’s one of the things you’ll get with a young team and until we can get over that hump, we might not see a lot of different outcomes. To be 2-3 in this stretch, you know we’re not real happy with that, but at the same time, we’ve been in position to win just about every game. That’s probably more what we’re looking at for, is how we’re playing the game rather than the wins and losses because we feel if we keep improving that those will straighten themselves out.”
The Jimmies will face a couple of tough foes this weekend. South Dakota Mines (13-6, 2-3 DAC) is getting votes in the national poll, and Black Hills State (15-4, 4-1 DAC) is ranked 11th.
“We’re going to see probably the three toughest perimeter players in the league to defend this weekend,” Trumbauer said.
South Dakota Mines’ AJ Trennepohl leads the DAC in three-pointers made (58) and is second in three-point percentage (52.7).
“That’s Jake Holen-esque,” Trumbauer said.
And the Hardrockers’ Robbie Fedor is shooting 47 percent from the field, 43 percent from beyond the arc.
Black Hills State has Cain Atkinson, who is second in the league in scoring (17.6 ppg). Trennepohl (13.3) and Fedor (13.2) rank fourth and fifth, respectively.
Trumbauer sees improvement but says there’s still a ways to go.
“We’re learning to play and I think we’re making significant strides in that area,” he said. “The next step is we’ve got to learn to win. We’re getting closer, but I think the guys are pretty determined to keep going until we get that figured out.”
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It doesn’t get any easier for the No. 4-ranked Jimmie women.
After winning at Minot State and handing 15th-ranked Dickinson State its first DAC loss last week, Jamestown College (14-4, 4-1 DAC) jumps back on the bus for another tough DAC road trip.
“We thought last week was a big week with Minot and Dickinson and our goal was to try to get both those games,” JC women’s coach Mark Wiest said. “We were successful in doing that. I thought we played two really good games but as soon as we finished beating Dickinson on Sunday, for the coaches our attention immediately turns to the next opponent.
“Now we’ve got to get ready for South Dakota Tech and Black Hills. It’s two good teams. You throw in a long trip to the Black Hills and playing in a different environment … it makes it a little tougher. It’s going to be an interesting weekend. We feel good about our chances going down there but it’s never been easy in the Hills. You always have to work really hard and you don’t catch many breaks down there, so we’ll have to be ready to go both nights.”
The marquee matchup is obviously the Saturday game against No. 8-ranked Black Hills State (15-4. 4-1 DAC). But South Dakota Mines (6-13, 2-3 DAC) is never easy to beat on its home court.
“We’ve got to find a way to beat South Dakota Tech,” Wiest said. “It’s not going to be easy and we can’t look forward to that next game. We’ve got to take care of business on Friday against a really good South Dakota Tech team.
“You look at their record and it’s a little misleading. It’s 6-13, but they’ve played some good teams and they’ve been right there until the very end. So we’re going to have to play a complete game, and like we told the kids in practice, before we can go 2-0, we’ve got to go 1-0. We’ve got to get that first one under our belt.”
The Hardrockers are led by Bethany Holyoak, a 6-foot-1 post who ranks second in the league in scoring at 15.7 points per game and second in rebounding with 8.4 per game. She also leads the league with 32 blocked shots. And Jerika Ihnen was the DAC’s freshman of the year last season.
“I’m confident that if we go down there and execute the way we’ve been executing in our last few games, take care of the ball, which has been a big key for us, I think we’ll have a shot,” Wiest said.
The Yellow Jackets lost three starters off last season’s team, including All-American forward Lacey Haughian and all-conference forward Snjezana Dojcinovic. But they haven’t missed a beat.
“I don’t think people expected Black Hills to be 15-4 at this point in the season after losing an All-American off last year’s team,” Wiest said. “They lost some really strong inside players but coach (Mark) Nore has done a really good job. He’s got his team playing really good defense and they’ve got some experience back on the perimeter. They’re intense on defense, they apply a lot of ball pressure.”
The Jackets’ offense runs through Brittany Fuhrman (13.0 ppg) and Katelynn Lamb (13.2 ppg).
“They’re a little different style than what we’ll see Friday night,” Wiest said. “More guard-oriented, quicker. We’ve seen similar types of teams and our kids have been really good at adjusting on the go and being ready with different matchups all the time, so they’ll be ready. They’re excited. They know what’s at stake.
“We’re at the top of the conference. Our goal is to try to go down and get two games. If that doesn’t work, we want to come home with a split. If we’re still a game back of first place going into the second half of the conference, I think we’re going to feel real good considering we’ve got a lot of home games coming up. We’re going to shoot for two and see what happens.”
Sun sports editor Scott Throlson can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by e-mail at email@example.com. The Sun’s sports blog is at www.areavoices.com/jmstsports