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PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Dragons look to toughen up

Caleb Kiner drives to the hoop.

Photo by Lukas Eggen
Caleb Kiner drives to the hoop.



DALLAS — Dallas’ boys basketball coach Trent Schwartz had one message for his players: It’s time to get tough.

“We were a little soft in our first four games,” Schwartz said. “We have to be a tough basketball team and (on Friday), I thought we played tough at times. We were outsized, but we put a butt on people and took two charges. We have to get a little nasty.”

The Dragons lost to Churchill 65-40, but Dallas showed flashes of the toughness Schwartz is looking for. The Dragons trailed 23-13 at the half before rallying within seven. The Lancers answered and pulled away.

“I saw a lot of intensity,” senior Jack Anderson said. “We were really playing as a team for stretches and getting after it.”

Dalton Woolner and Anderson helped spark a Dallas rally in the second half, thanks to some long distance shots. But the Dragons couldn’t make them with enough consistency to sustain the rally.

“Dalton was huge,” Schwartz said. “He hit two quick threes. People started feeling good and shots started falling. We’re capable of doing that. That should be a strength of our team, but you live by the three and you die by the three sometimes.”

Extending those stretches of excellence to an entire game remains a work in progress.

On Friday, missing open shots began to take its toll.

“I think sometimes you get a little frustrated when shots aren’t falling, and you begin to force a little,” Schwartz said. “We’ve talked about sometimes if you have a heavily contested shot, it’s better to pass it and wait for a better look.”

Missed opportunities on offense meant as the game wore on, the Dragons were forced to ramp up the pressure on defense.

“I thought that was our best defensive effort,” Schwartz said. “We held them to 23 points in the first half, and the final is a little misleading because when you’re behind, you have to start rolling the dice a little bit.”

While Dallas showed signs of improvement, Schwartz knows the Dragons must get tougher or this winter could be a long one.

“The kids are buying into that,” Schwartz said. “We’re getting there slowly. Hopefully, we’ll see that materialize into some wins here soon.”



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