There’s a little bit of history behind one of Tuesday’s Region 4 semifinal games. This will be the fourth time this season that Dunseith and St. John face each other. St. John is 3-0 against the Dragons this season with its last win coming in the District 8 tournament. However, Dunseith has been competitive in those three games this season only losing by an average of 6.3 points.
Dunseith senior forward Treagan Azure said his team has to stop three players if the Dragons want to advance to the Region 4 title game on Thursday.
“Keep Bradley Defender from penetrating to the rim and stop Zack Anderson from shooting,” Azure said Tuesday morning. “Also, (we have to) pressure Tyreece Gunville when he has the ball.”
The Dragons (13-10) knocked off reigning Region 4 champion New Rockford-Sheyenne 58-53 Monday night while St. John (19-3) got passed Dakota Prairie 59-48.
St. John senior Adam Jollie said what makes this rivalry between the Woodchucks and Dragons so special is that the two teams come from the same area.
“This rivalry has been going on for as long as I could remember,” Jollie said. “Our teams have so (many) natives that come from the same tribe so it’s like a chance to show (who) is the better native team.”
“There is always so much pride along with a packed crowd that creates an intense atmosphere, which pressures us to play our best.”
Azure added that this rivalry is special because “we’re all family and friends, and basically the top two teams in our district.”
St. John beat Dunseith 72-65 in December, 68-62 in January and most recently 62-55 on Feb. 29.
Jollie said the Dragons’ strength is shooting from the outside.
“They have a couple tall players but their strength seems to be the outside shot,” he added. “Defensively, I think just containing them and not giving up open 3-pointers is what we need to focus on.”
“Offensively, I think we need to move the ball around and get it into the post. Dunseith can get lazy sometimes on defense so moving the ball will allow us to get open lanes or shots and the post will always be there for us.”
The winner of tonight’s game will face either No. 1-ranked Four Winds-Minnewaukan or Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich in the Region 4 championship game.