BISMARCK — If the Beach girls basketball team is going to win a state championship, it must do so without Kelcee Dykins.
The senior who leads the Buccaneers in scoring and rebounding is out for the rest of the Class B state tournament because of a right foot injury that head coach Bob Waldal called, “a glorified bruise.”
“But if you bruise something like that, it’s so tender,” Waldal said, saying there wasn’t a break but that Dykins is wearing a brace. “She can’t move her foot. She was in a lot of pain.”
Dykins left Thursday night’s 52-48 quarterfinal victory over No. 2-ranked Kindred with a limp after a knock to her right heel. She played only a couple minutes in the first quarter and played the whole second quarter, but she sat out the entire second half. She averages 18.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game but had seven points and five rebounds in about 11 minutes against Kindred.
The Buccaneers rallied from a 28-20 halftime deficit despite Dykins being on the bench and got a huge performance out of junior forward Morgan Nunberg along the way.
Nunberg, who didn’t play in the Region 7 championship game victory over Hazen, had six points and eight rebounds.
Waldal said Nunberg will likely start in place of Dykins when Beach plays Linton-HMB in the semifinals at approximately 7:15 p.m. at the Bismarck Civic Center.
“Morgan is a very good rebounder. She’ll probably lead us in rebounds,” Waldal said. “She’s a very good rebounder if she stays out of foul trouble. She just gets too aggressive. Her deal is poise.”
Beach (23-2) lost on the road against Linton-HMB 60-52 on Dec. 10. It was the second game of the year for both teams.
Waldal said the key to beating the Lions (19-6) is finding a way around their defense, which he called “man-to-man with zone principles.”
“They really keep the middle away,” Waldal said. “We’re going to have to zero in on a mid-range game, which is a running jump shot. But the kids can shoot those. That’s kind of what we’ll be looking at. … The kids, they’re going to have to play well to win tonight and shoot a lot better.”