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Magicians look to keep hot streak going against Bismarck

Following a 69-67 road victory over Mandan on Jan. 5, the Minot boys basketball team finds itself atop the WDA West Region standings with a record of 6-0.

MHS will put its undefeated record on the line as they are scheduled to host the 5-1 Bismarck Demons on Friday evening. According to Magicians head basketball coach Dean Winczewski, he believes controlling the tempo of the game will be a key component for Minot in this clash with a top-flight conference rival.

“Bismarck likes to play at a very fast and chaotic pace,” Winczewski tells the Minot Daily News. “They do a great job of creating opportunities for themselves, so we need to maintain our own aggressiveness while forcing them to do things they are uncomfortable with. If we can do that, we will give ourselves a chance to win.”

Winczewski expects the upcoming showdown with Bismarck to be just as hotly contested as most of Minot’s other early season ballgames. Thus far, four of Minot’s six wins have been by four points or less. Now in his 13th season at Minot High, Winczewski credits his club’s grit and resilience late in games as a determining factor in those close games.

“It has not been perfect, but the kids are just finding ways to win right now. We are nowhere near being a finished product, but I think we can continue to be competitive in every single game as the season moves along,” the MHS coach adds.

Among the Magicians’ top performers thus far, senior guard Deonte’ Martinez has had a major impact. Through six games, Martinez is Minot’s leading scorer with a robust 24.5 points per contest while shooting nearly 64 percent from the field. Defensively, Martinez is also making his presence felt as he currently averages two steals per game.

Aside from padding the stat sheet, coach Winczewski states that Martinez, a three-year varsity player, also commands respect from his teammates. The Minot basketball mentor says his leading scorer is not one to force the issue as Martinez routinely takes shots within the confines of the offense. As a result, underclassmen such as junior Eric Wentz and sophomore Darik Dissette have capitalized on their opportunities to contribute.

“In our last game against Mandan, Deonte’ was willing to take a back seat because Eric and Darik were heavily involved in the offense. I think Deonte’ has a really good understanding of what the team needs at certain times, and he not satisfied with just scoring. It’s hard not to be drawn to that type of team attitude,” Winczewski continues.

The Minot boys basketball coach reveals that while he is pleased with the progress of the team, there is still plenty of work to be done. In particular, he would like to see improved on-ball defense, as well as offensive execution as the season moves along. With an eye towards the postseason, Winczewski would like to see Minot performing at its best come March.

“This early season success won’t mean much when we are battling it out during tournament time. For our group, it’s all about continuing to learn how to play at the varsity level and developing our level of consistency,” the Magicians coach says.

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