Rockets 'Cook' up 25-0 record
Tyler Cook's first North Dakota Class B state boys basketball tournament experience was incomplete. Recovering from a broken wrist, the New Rockford-Sheyenne guard watched the Rockets lose their first-round game at the state tournament last seaso...
Tyler Cook's first North Dakota Class B state boys basketball tournament experience was incomplete.
Recovering from a broken wrist, the New Rockford-Sheyenne guard watched the Rockets lose their first-round game at the state tournament last season against eventual state champion May-Port-C-G.
He played sparingly in the two consolation games that followed, but with his left wrist heavily taped. The Rockets finished sixth.
"This feels a lot better than last year. It was pretty tough to sit there," said Cook, a guard who leads the Rockets averaging 6.7 assists.
"I'm happy for Tyler that he really gets to experience his first state tournament," added Rockets coach Craig Demester. "Last year he kind of experienced it from the outside. He doesn't show a lot of emotions, but I know inside he is ready to get a taste of the state tournament."
Cook won't have to feel like a spectator when the No. 1-ranked Rockets play Dickinson Trinity tonight at the Fargodome.
"We are a lot more confident that we have our point guard," said Rockets junior Evan Bennefeld. "He kind of runs the show. He gets a lot of people easier points."
The Rockets, playing in their second consecutive state tournament, have a number of factors to motivate them. First, they want to improve on last year's finish. A healthy Cook should help. Second, most of the basketball players were on the football team that lost to Linton in the 9-man state football championship game at the Fargodome last November.
Bennefeld, junior guard Michael Cudworth, senior forward Alex Belquist, senior guard Ben Allmaras and junior forward Casey Weber all started in the state tournament last season. Allmaras is a reserve this season with Cook back to full health.
"I think it's going to be different because we are a lot more serious," Bennefeld said. "We are ranked No. 1 so we have a lot to live up to. I'm glad we get to go back. Last year we went down there kind of in awe."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513
New Rockford-Sheyenne Rockets
- Coach: Craig Demester
- Record: 25-0
- Enrollment (9-12): 166
- Probable starters: Alex Belquist, 6-1, Sr., G (11.5 points, 5 rebounds, 4.7 assists); Tyler Cook, 5-11, Jr., G (10.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists); Casey Weber, 6-0, Sr., F (10.4 points, 6.3 rebounds); Evan Bennefeld, 6-3, Jr., F (18.8 points, 4.9 rebounds); Michael Cudworth, 6-0, Jr., G (8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists).
- Key reserves: A.J. Zieman, 5-10, Sr., G (1.8 points, 1.8 rebounds); Ben Allmaras, 5-11, Sr., G (2.9 points, 1.8 rebounds); Tyler Messner, 6-3, Sr., C (5.6 points, 4 rebounds); Mitchell Poulsen, 6-1, Sr., F (2.9 points, 2.5 rebounds).
Dickinson Trinity Titans
- Coach: Gregg Grinsteinner
- Record: 22-2
- Enrollment (9-12): 220
- Probable starters: Lee
Kiedrowski, 5-11, Sr., G (5.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists); Chad Glasser, 5-11, Sr., G (22 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5 assists); Jayden Peters, 6-3, Sr., F (6.3 points, 3.1 rebounds); Brandon Messer, 6-4, Sr., C (9.7 points, 6.3 rebounds); Landon Smith, 6-2, So., G (10.4 points, 5.3 rebounds).
- Key reserves: John Wanner, 5-10, Sr., G (4.6 points, 1.4 rebounds); Steve Maershbecker, 6-1, Jr., F (4 points, 1.7 rebounds); Jeff Jackson, 6-3, Sr., F (1.6 points, 2.4 rebounds); Andy Murphy, 5-9, Jr., G (2.7 points, 1.6 rebounds); Mason Pokorny, 6-1, Sr., F (1.2 points, 1 rebound).
- Game notes: Named Region 4 athlete of the year, Belquist signed to play football at North Dakota State. ... Cudworth is shooting 50 percent (37 of 74) from 3-point range for the Rockets.
-- Compiled by Eric Peterson