Century’s Regan Dennis, left, is fouled by Ashley Hulm of Legacy during a West Region contest at the Bismarck Event Center.

Use it or lose it.

Experienced high school athletic teams are fleeting things. Veteran teams one season tend to beget green outfits the next.

So the clock is ticking for Century basketball coaches Darin Mattern and Ron Metz. They’ll send experienced and talented teams into the postseason, beginning Thursday with the first round of the West Region tournament.

Both Century teams stand 20-1 with unblemished regional records as the tournament grind beckons. And they’re both determined to improve on runner-up state tournament finishes last March.

Mattern’s boys, ranked No. 1 in the state, head into the regional tournament at the Event Center riding the crest of an 18-game winning streak. Metz’s second-ranked girls, who trail only Fargo Shanley, concluded the regular season with 17 straight wins.

The Patriot boys face Legacy in Thursday’s 3 p.m. tournament opener in the main arena. Legacy stands 7-15 following its 67-58 play-in victory over Turtle Mountain.

Century’s girls are scheduled to tangle with St. Mary’s, 9-13, the winner of Friday’s play-in clash with Williston, in their regional opener. That game is slated for 2 p.m. at the Exhibit Hall.

“Just in our sport of basketball we have a lot of individuals who played in the state championship game (last season). That can only be beneficial,” Mattern said.

“Any time you have kids who have experienced competition in different types of situations ... their competitive level is a lot better,” he added.

Metz says his veteran players have gained valuable experience en route to fifth-place and runner-up finishes the last two seasons.

“They have the confidence to know how things work in the postseason,” Metz noted. “We can rely on them to kind of guide the younger girls who haven’t been through this before.”

Metz said the experience factor has already manifested itself in difficult situations.

“We’ve had probably four or five difficult games so far where the girls didn’t panic. They didn’t try to overdo things because they’d been there and done that before,” Metz said. “... Our veterans got us through those kinds of games and kept everyone under control on the floor.”

Metz’s nucleus of veterans includes Regan Dennis, Kourtney Selensky and Jenna Fitterer, all of whom started or played significant roles in last year’s state championship game with Fargo Shanley.

Likewise, Mattern can count on Adam Geiger, Andrew Holen and Luke Leingang, who started in the 2015 finale against Minot. Plus, there’s all-state standout Dalton Feeney, who missed the postseason in 2015 with an injury.

Additionally, both CHS basketball teams include athletes who have captured state championships in track and either football or volleyball.

Add it all up, and Century’s basketball teams have the talent and experience to make make serious runs at state championships in the next two weeks. Both coaches caution, however, that nothing is guaranteed.

Mattern said he doesn’t want visions of state championships dancing in the heads of his players, who have finished third and second the last two seasons. Instead, he wants them intensely focused not only on each game, but on each possession.

“This is a very mature group of seniors who understand you can’t win two games in one night. It’s got to be a possession-by-possession process,” Mattern said. “When you look at it that way it takes away some of the tendency to feel overwhelmed by the situation.”

Mattern echoed what Metz said about having experienced players on the floor when a game begins to slip away.

“It’s not adversity that affects you, it’s how you react to it,” Mattern observed.

Mattern said his team’s development is on target as the Patriots approach the most important and difficult part of the season. In addition to winning 20 ballgames — their only loss was to a Wyoming team — the Patriots have become a much better basketball team.

“To this point I think we’ve improved on the offensive end with ball possession and sharing the ball. Different guys are contributing each night,” Mattern said. “Our defense and rebounding have improved. We’re guarding the basketball across the board. We’ve made great progress in that area, and that’s probably why we’re playing our best basketball at this time.”

Mattern said the on-floor communication made impressive strides toward the end of the regular season.

“I think our communication dratically improved the last month of the season, and that helped our basketball team on both ends of the floor,” he observed.

Metz, too, says his team is markedly better than it was in November.

“Obviously with losing Katie (Scherr) we’ve had to make some adjustments. That probably set us back a little bit. ... I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made since her injury,” Metz said. “We’ve had some other people adjust to new roles. Some of the younger girls are getting more time now and we’re expecting a bit more.”

Scherr suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Feb. 2 game at Minot.

Metz said Scherr’s injury has allowed some of his bench players to move up on the depth chart.

“Now we’re probably going nine deep because we’re splitting minutes between Hannah Schwartz and Lilly Keplin,” Metz noted.

Sans season-ending injuries, Mattern has developed a deep bench, nonetheless.

“The last month of the season we extended our bench and got good production from them. ... So we’ve extended their minutes. ... We’re very capable of playing nine or 10 kids,” Mattern said.

Thursday’s eight quarterfinals are scheduled for two sites at the Event Center. The four boys games will be played in the main arena beginning at 3 p.m. The girls will play the first day at the Exhibit Hall starting at 2 p.m.

Minot’s boys and Century’s girls captured regional championships in 2015.



Play-in Games

Thursday, Feb. 25

Legacy 67, Turtle Mountain 58

Friday, Feb. 26

#10 Williston (5-16) at #7 St. Mary’s (7-13), 7:15 p.m.


Thursday, March 3

At Bismarck Event Center

Game 1: #1 Century (20-1) vs. #8 Legacy (7-15), 3 p.m., Arena

Game 2: #4 Dickinson (14-7) vs. #5 Jamestown (12-9), 4:45 p.m., Arena

Game 3: #2 Minot (19-2) vs. Williston-St. Mary’s winner, 6:30 p.m., Arena

Game 4: #3 Bismarck (13-8) vs. #6 Mandan (9-12), 8:15 p.m., Arena


Play-in Games

Friday, Feb. 26

#9 Williston (5-16) at #8 St. Mary’s (8-13), 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 27

#10 Dickinson (2-19) at #7 Bismarck (12-9), 5 p.m.


Thursday, March 3

At Bismarck Event Center

Game 1: #1 Century (20-1) vs. Williston-St. Mary’s winner, 2 p.m., Exhibit Hall

Game 2: #4 Legacy (12-8) vs. #5 Jamestown (11-10), 3:45 p.m., Exhibit Hall

Game 3: #2 Mandan (13-8) vs. Dickinson-Bismarck winner, 5:30 p.m., Exhibit Hall

Game 4: #3 Turtle Mountain (14-7) vs. #6 Minot (10-11), 7:15 p.m., Exhibit Hall



Team offense: 1. Minot 77.9. 2. Dickinson 75.5. 3. Century 70.8. 4. Jamestown 67.9. 5. Turtle Mountain 63.64. 6. Williston 63.62. 7. Mandan 61.6. 8. Bismarck 60.6. 9. St. Mary’s 55.9. 10. Legacy 53.8.

Team defense: 1. Century 55.25. 2. Bismarck 55.27. 3. Mandan 61.7. 4. Minot 61.9. 5. DIckinson 62.1. 6. St. Mary’s 62.5. 7. Jamestown 66.0. 8. Legacy 66.5. 9. Williston 69.5. 10. Turtle Mountain 80.5.

Individual scoring: 1. Aanen Moody, D, 32.3. 2. DeSean Eikens, W, 21.5. 3. Dalton Feeney, C, 21.2. 4. Noah Wanzek, J, 19.2. 5. Trae Steckler, Man, 17.7. 6. Cole Gendreau, SM, 14.8. 7. KyJuan Johnson, Min, 13.5. 8. Taven Azure, TM, 12.7. 9. Jesse Roberts, Min, 12.6. 10. Brayden Thomas, B, 12.5.

Individual rebounding: 1. DeSean Eikens, W, 11.6. 2. Brayden Lund, Min, 10.3. 3. Noah Wanzek, J, 9.9. 4. Lyle Rader, TM, 9.5. 5. Brayden Thomas, B, 9.1. 6. Jordan Meidinger, D, 7.6. 7. Trae Steckler, Man, 7.5. 8. Luke Leingang, C, 6.9. 9. Austin Wolf, L, 6.7. 10. Aanen Moody, D, 5.9.

Individual assists: 1. KyJuan Johnson, Min, 4.3. 2. Tanner Davidson, D, 4.2. 3. Ben Bolinske, Min, 4.1. 4. Seth Siverson, B, 3.9. 5. Tanner Lunzman, J, 3.7. 6. Gabe Meschke, Man, 3.6. 7. Justin Engg, Min., 2.87. 8. (tie) Aanen Moody, D, and Shawn Steffan, D, 2.86. 10. Colten Birkland, TM, 2.80.

Individual steals: 1. Aanen Moody, D, 3.29. 2. KyJuan Johnson, Min, 2.67. 3. Ben Bolinske, Min, 2.27. 4. Seth Siverson, B, 1.93. 5. Noah Wanzek, J, 1.86. 6. Tanner Lunzman, J, 1.79. 7. Tanner Ouellette, D, 1.75. 8. Brayden Thomas, B, 1.73. 9. Colten Birkland, TM, 1.70. 10. Dalton Feeney, C, 1.69.

Individual 3-pointers: 1. Aanen Moody, D, 41. 2. Jordan Mann, B, 32. 3. Adam Geiger, C, 30. 4. Cole Gendreau, SM, 26. 5. Cody Reynolds, Min, 23.

Individual blocked shots: 1. Jordan Meidinger, D, 2.71. 2. Lyle Rader, TM, 1.60. 3. Justin Engg, Min, 1.27. 4. Wyatt Kainz, D, 1.21. 5. Brayden Lund, Min, 1.00.


Team offense: 1. Century 66.7. 2. Turtle Mountain 64.6. 3. Mandan 61.7. 4. Legacy 60.8. 5. Bismarck 60.1. 6. Jamestown 60.0. 7. Minot 53.1. 8. St. Mary’s 52.8. 9. Williston 46.8. 10. Dickinson 39.5.

Team defense: 1. Century 43.8. 2. Bismarck 51.1. 3. Minot 51.8. 4. Jamestown 52.9. 5. Mandan 55.3. 6. Turtle Mountain 56.6. 7. Legacy 59.5. 8. Williston 59.7. 9. St. Mary’s 61.4. 10. Dickinson 64.3.

Individual scoring: 1. Katie Nice, W, 16.69. 2. Cassie Askvig, Min, 16.67. 3. Coral Gillette, B, 15.9. 4. Mercedes Baumgartner, L, 14.4. 5. Regan Dennis, C, 13.2. 6. Bailey Lamp, J, 13.1. 7. Ashley Davis, TM, 12.5. 8. Syann Golus, TM, 12.0. 9. Kourtney Selensky, C, 11.79. 10. Brita Feland, L, 11.77.

Individual rebounding: 1. Katie Nice, W, 12.7. 2. Cassie Askvig, Min, 9.7. 3. Brita Feland, L, 9.5. 4. Kaitlyn Wanner, SM, 9.4. 5. Hannah Hanson, Man, 7.1. 6. (tie) Jocci Lysne, W, and Megan Gaffaney, J, 7.0. 8. (tie) Regan Dennis, C, Jayde Lawlar, D, and Kourtney Selensky, C, 6.2.

Individual assists: 1. Ashley Davis, TM, 4.7. 2. Emily Reiten, J, 4.5. 3. Evie Reynolds, Min, 3.9. 4. Meghan Orr, J, 3.5. 5. Megan Gaffaney, J, 3.4. 6. Kennedy Harris, Man, 2.9. 7. Sydney Murphy, L, 2.8. 8. Alyssa Beck, SM, 2.7. 9. Syann Golus, TM, 2.57. 10. Sydney Smith, SM, 2.56.

Individual steals: 1. Cara Haussler, B, 4.33. 2. Kaitlyn Wanner, SM, 3.00. 3. Coral Gillette, B, 2.87. 4. Mackensi Higlin, Man, 2.67. 5. Alyssa Beck, SM, 2.44. 7. Sydney Murphy, L, 2.07. 8. (tie) Sydney Smith, SM, Megan Gaffaney, J, and Emily Reiten, J, 2.00.

Individual 3-pointers: 1. Coral Gillette, B, 40. 2. Genna Bruns, J, 29. 3. Syann Golus, TM, 27. 4. (tie) Mercedes Baumgartner, L, and Megan Zander, Man, 23.

Individual blocked shots: 1. Cassie Askvig, Min, 3.33. 2. Faith Dionne, TM, 2.93. 3. Brita Feland, L, 2.39. 4. Coral Gillette, B, 1.67. 5. Kourtney Selensky, C, 1.29.

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