ST. GEORGE — The Trailblazers women’s team bounced back on Saturday after a tough overtime loss to get a big win over Black Hills State, 71-65. The men’s team controlled Black Hills State for most of their game Saturday night, and got a 76-54 win to cap off the weekend.
Trailblazer women respond to beat Black Hills State
After another slow start and a six-point deficit at the half, DSU was able to get their offense going and lock in on defense to get the win. Dixie had three players score in double figures, while every player who got on the floor scored at least twice.
Deshka Olson came off the bench with a career-high 14 points in only 13 minutes played while Ali Franks had 10 points and Keslee Stevenson had 12 points.
“We responded to being bad again in the first half,” head coach JD Gustin said of the game. “It was like four quarters last night and then two quarters tonight and you’re like, where’s the energy, the enthusiasm, the will to want to play. Then we got it from our bench in the second half, it was so fun. Deshka (Olson) and Bri (Breaunna Gillen) I thought, were the catalysts in the whole win.”
Gustin spoke a little bit about Olson and her story. It’s always telling of a player’s performance when they score more points then minutes played.
“Can’t beat that,” Gustin said. “She’s been out with a foot injury for a long time. She has a really unique story. She thought this was her junior year, now it’s going to be her senior year because we’re going Division I. For her to finally get a moment, she deserves it.”
Another player that stood out was London Pavlica, who had 8 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. She played a big role in the Trailblazers comeback win.
She also was a major contributor for DSU as they made a late push against South Dakota Mines on Friday.
“She’s just a tough kid that brings a ton of energy and just a toughness that we’re trying to get our whole team to have,” Gusting said. “She definitely gave us a spark last night and we tried to carry that over to tonight.”
On Friday against SD Mines, the Trailblazers dealt with a knee injury when freshman Emily Isaacson went down and could not continue. She was not dressed for their game on Saturday, but was on the bench wearing a knee brace. Gustin said that the injury had an effect on not only him, but his team.
He referred to his players as his kids, and he was quick to bring that loss up. She was one of their first bigs off the bench, and it will definitely be something to look for going forward. Luckily some bigs stepped up off the bench to fill the hole left with Isaacson out.
“Being at home, last night was a really tough loss, but to our team’s credit they could have folded tonight because Black Hills is better than that team last night,” Gustin said. “Just to respond to last night and then that first half is the main thing I’m taking away from it.”
The Trailblazers are on the road next week against New Mexico Highlands and Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Trailblazers men’s basketball locks down Black Hills State, gets blowout win
The Trailblazers started off the game a bit slow, similar to their game Friday, but they took off in the second half to get the win, 76-54. They were only up by seven at the half, but they outscored Black hills state by 15 in the second. DSU had complete control of the game for all 40 minutes.
“Tonight I felt like it was an all around good, great game,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “Defensively, offensively, the energy, it was probably the best we’ve played all year.”
Jack Pagenkopf and Hunter Schofield led the way with 19 points each, while Dason Youngblood was close behind with 10 points.
In the second half Black Hills was only able to attempt 20 shots total, which showed just how well DSU’s defense played. A key to that was their consistent switching between man-to-man defense and a matchup zone defense. This gave Black hills problems, and it showed both during the game and in the stat sheet.
“I think it’s fine for us we just confuse the other team,” Youngblood said of their defensive switches. “If we’re in man too long, they get comfortable and we switch to matchup zone, they don’t know what to do. It’s hard for them.”
When asked about how he chooses to switch defenses, Judkins said it’s all about reading a team’s rhythm during the game.
“I do that a lot when I see teams kind of get into that rhythm. You got to get them out, either by pressing or changing up your defenses and that’s kind of why I did that.”
The Trailblazers had such a large lead that they were able to clear out the bench and give some players who don’t get to see the floor some playing time.
The energy on the bench built up as those players came in, but one thing really stood out. Even with a large lead, the Trailblazers were still diving on loose balls and making hustle plays.
“It was fun for them,” Judkins said. “The starters gave them high fives and they came out. Jacob gets on the floor for a loose ball and the game is over but he’s still playing hard. Those are the things I tell my bench, when you come in the game, don’t try to show me that I made a mistake and you’re going to cast and start scoring. That’s not what I’m looking for, I’m looking for guys that will play defense, that’ll hustle, get rebounds and loose balls.”
With the Trailblazers currently ranked No. 16 in the coaches poll and No. 15 in the SID poll, they always have a target on their backs. They will see everyone’s best game, but Youngblood said he’s not too worried about that.
“It’s just a ranking, it doesn’t really matter,” Youngblood said. “We just got to take care of business.”
DSU goes on the road next weekend with another Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference doubleheader against New Mexico Highlands on Friday and Colorado State University-Pueblo on Saturday.
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