Dupree on roll entering State B tourney
By Jay Davis
The Dupree Tigers enter their second straight State B Tournament hoping to make more noise than they did last year when they finished in seventh place.
The Tigers are 22-1 and have won 19 games in a row. Their only loss came against North Dakota power North Star in late December.
Coming into state as the three seed, the Tigers will square off against six seed Arlington. The two teams will tip off at around 7:45 p.m. in the final first-round game at the Barnett Center on the campus of Northern State University in Aberdeen.
After winning their last 16 regular season games, the Tigers left little doubt in their postseason games. They defeated McIntosh 70-37 in the District 15B semifinals and Timber Lake 79-36 in the championship game. The Region 8B championship against rival Faith was all Dupree in the second half as the Tigers posted a 66-51 win.
Arlington enters state with a 17-4 record. The Cardinals beat De Smet 62-40 and Castlewood 63-51 to win District 3B and won a 60-50 game over Colman-Egan to claim the Region 2B title. All four Arlington losses came to Class A teams. They were beaten by Elkton-Lake Benton twice, Deubrook and Deuel.
High-scoring Nate Widow leads Dupree. The 6”1’ senior has poured 584 points through the nets this season. That adds up to an average of 25 points per contest. Widow has scored 1,085 career points heading into state. He adds five rebounds and three steals per game.
Kash Deal needs just 29 points in three games at state to join Widow in the 1,000-point club. Deal, 6’0” senior, averages 12 points and five rebounds per contest.
The Tigers have balance across the board with four more players who average between seven and eight points per game. Tate Widow, 6’0” senior, has been saddled with a knee injury that forced him to miss the last six regular season games, but will still put up eight points per contest. Creighton LeBeau, 6’0” sophomore, scores eight points a game. Junior center Jeffrie Shaving, 6’0”, averages seven points and five rebounds per game. Trenton Pretty Weasel, 5’11” senior, averages seven points and three steals per game. Senior starter Seth Longbrake, 6’0,” adds five points per game. The Tigers go deeper into the bench with 6’3” senior Dayton Spiel, 5’11” junior Hoss Rave and 6’0” sophomore Rardy Anderson.
Arlington counters with two high-scoring players who can light it up from the outside. Tage Hargens, 6’0” senior, averages 18 points per game and shoots 47.5 percent from beyond the arc. He’s made 144 threes this season. Six-foot sophomore Andrew King averages 15 points per game and has made 105 threes, while hitting outside at a 40-percent clip. The Cardinals also get 9 points from 5’11” senior Zach Warnke and eight points a game from 5’8” senior Lane Weber. Hargens also leads the team in rebounds, steals and assists.
With a long winning streak and the experience of playing in last year’s tournament, Dupree hopes to hit the court in rhythm and make a run at the state title. Not only are the Tigers experienced at state tournament play, head coach Jim Hood led the McIntosh Tigers to the state title in 1998 and second place the following year. His state tournament history is even longer. Hood was a starter for the 1963 Irene team that won the consolation championship.
The Tigers are bracketed with 21-2 James Valley Christian and 21-1 Viborg-Hurley. The afternoon session will feature 22-1 White River vs. 19-4 Langford Area followed by 22-0 Potter County vs. 21-2 South Central.