By Brad Blume
SDM hoops teams look for strong showing at home this weekend
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- The South Dakota School of Mines men’s and women’s basketball team continue Dakota Athletic Conference basketball action this weekend as the Hardrockers welcome Minot State to the King Center Friday night and Dickinson State on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Hardrockers have had some tremendous success this season, boasting a 16-3 overall record, owning a share of first place in the conference with a 4-1 mark and being recognized in the NAIA Top 25 poll all season. The latest rating had the Lady ‘Rockers at No. 10 after spending two weeks at 13th. The Hardrockers earned the accolades after two very impressive road victories over Mayville State and highly touted Dakota State (ranked 17th) last weekend.
The Lady Beavers also have a share of first place in the DAC with an identical 4-1 conference record (13-6 overall). The Beavers enter this weekend on three-game win streak with their only conference loss coming at the hands of Dakota State.
Minot has a roster spilling over with talent. Senior Kendra Meyer leads the team in scoring averaging almost 20 points a game while junior Brittni Walker helps out with 14.53 points a contest and junior Lashay Bagsby dishes in 11.58 markers each time out.
The Blue Hawks swoop into Rapid City with a 5-14 record and 1-3 mark in the conference, having defeated only Valley City in DAC matchups.
Dickinson State’s top player is senior Brittany Mesa. The 6-foot-0-inch forward/center leads the team in scoring, averaging 10.84 a game while teammate Juliet Masei, a 5-6 junior guard, compliments Mesa on the outside, dropping in just under 10 points.
Both squads will have a tough time matching up with the Hardrockers. Senior Melanie Vedvei is having one of her most productive season, averaging just under 20 points a game. She broke the NAIA national career steals record last week and is currently tied for first place as leading scorer in the DAC --- not to mention the SDM women’s basketball No. 2 all time scorer with 1,949 markers.
Add in the play of sophomore post player Bethany Holyoak and senior guard Jennie Malone, who are both scoring a little over 10 points a game along with a very skilled and talented supporting cast and the SDM women look to be a very solid unit.
In men’s action, the Hardrockers have gone through some growing pains this season, rostering a very young team, made up of mostly underclassmen. Despite the youth and inexperience, the Hardrockers have managed to stay competitive and seemed to turn their season around last weekend, earning a tough victory over Dakota State on the road.
First on the docket Friday in Minot State. The Beavers start the weekend off with a 10-8 record and a 4-1 DAC mark. Minot’s only conference loss came from Jamestown College, a team that the Hardrockers played very well against.
Individually, the Beavers are solid up and down the line. The team is led by senior Matt Witwer and junior Aaron Patterson. Both players put up just over 16 points a night while teammates Joe Gathings (senior) and CJ DeWitty (junior) compliment them well with 13-point efforts each game.
Saturday’s contest pits the Hardrockers against the Dickinson State Blue Hawks, a squad that is winless in the conference (0-5). In fact the Hawks are trying to pull out of a dive, as they have lost 12 straight games. The last time Dickinson posted a ‘W’ was over Thanksgiving weekend vs. MSU-Northern. DSU is 6-13 on the season
Individually the Hawks rely heavily on senior forward Ervin Belton. The 6-6 hoopster drops in just over 12 markers a game while teammate and fellow senior Steve Mitchell contributes with a little under 10 points a contest.
The ‘Rockers are improving each and every time out, and despite a 5-14 overall record, SDM has still posted two DAC wins and remain in a good position to keep in the top half of the conference.
The ball is distributed pretty evenly along the roster. Freshmen A.J. Trennepohl and Michael Ross along with junior Brandon Smith are all averaging about 11 points a game while sophomore Robbie Fedor and junior Donny DeGooyer put up right around 10 markers a game.
The women’s game Friday is slated for 5:30 p.m. with the men to follow at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday the women play at 4 p.m. and the men compete at 6 p.m.
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