Basketball: VCSU begins postseason play this weekend

Feb 28th, 2014 @ 10:33 am | Author: Mark Potts, Sports Information Director
What: NSAA Postseason Basketball Semifinals
When: VCSU Men - Saturday, 6 p.m. at Dakota State
VCSU Women - Sunday, 3 p.m. at University of Jamestown
Both games broadcast live on KOVC 1490 and streamed at NewsDakota.com
Men's Live Links:
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Men's Live Stats
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Women's Live Links:
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Women's Live Stats
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The Valley City State basketball teams begin play in the first ever North Star Athletic Association postseason tournament this weekend with semifinal road games.

The Viking men open the weekend Saturday night at Dakota State. VCSU is the No. 3 seed and Dakota State is the No. 2 seed. Game time is 6 p.m. Saturday. Elsewhere on Saturday, No. 4 Presentation College plays at top seed Jamestown.

On the women's side, VCSU is also the No. 3 seed. The Vikings begin postseason play 3 p.m. Sunday at No. 2 seed Jamestown. Also on Sunday, No. 4 seed Dakota State play at top seed Mayville State.

The winners of this weekend's semifinal games advance to the tournament championship. The men's championship is Monday night, 7 p.m., at the highest remaining seed. The women's championship is at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at the highest seed.

With just five teams in the North Star Athletic Association this season, there is no automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament for the conference tournament champion. The North Star will start receiving an automatic bid next year when Dickinson State joins the league.

None of the North Star men's teams are in position to receive an at-large bid to the national tournament. On the women's side, both Jamestown (ranked No. 3 in nation) and Mayville State (ranked No. 11) should receive at-large bids.


Men: VCSU at Dakota State - 6 p.m., Saturday, Madison, S.D.
The Vikings and Trojans have split their two meetings this season, with the home team winning each time. On Feb. 1, the Vikings blasted Dakota State 88-63 in Valley City. On Feb. 15, the Viking offense sputtered on the road during a 65-51 loss in Madison.

Valley City State (14-13, 5-3 NSAA) is coming off a 70-58 win over Presentation College on Feb. 22. Four different Vikings scored in double figures, led by Jeremy Ware's 15 points off the bench.

Since starting the season 3-9, VCSU has posted an 11-4 record in 2014.

Freshmen Mac Kroeplin has been a big part of that resurgence as he's found his range from the 3-point line. In 2014, Kroeplin is averaging about 11 points per game after starting the season averaging about 7. He is shooting 35.5 percent from 3-point range on the season, but has been a blistering 47 percent on 3's over the past 10 games. He has made two or more 3-pointers in 15 games this season, and has made four 3's in four different games.

Kroeplin has upped his season scoring average to nine points per game and is third on the team. Senior Aaron Duske and junior AJ McDonald continue to be VCSU's main scoring threats, each averaging about 15 points a game.

Dakota State (14-14, 6-2 NSAA) is led offensively by Dylan Hale, who is averaging about 18 points a game. After shooting 4-for-19 at Valley City and scoring just 11 points, the senior guard has been on a tear. Over the last four games, Hale is averaging 23.5 points a game and scored a season-high 35 points in their last contest, a 96-88 overtime win against Jamestown.


Women: VCSU at University of Jamestown - 3 p.m., Sunday, Jamestown
Although VCSU avoided a quarterfinal game by earning the No. 3 seed, it didn't make the tournament draw any easier for the Vikings. Valley City State's women open postseason play at the No. 3 team in the country, University of Jamestown.

The Jimmies (25-2, 7-1 NSAA) are the No. 2 seed for the North Star tournament. The Vikings (13-11, 3-5 NSAA) are the No. 3 seed.

After a week of much-needed rest, the Viking women will head to Jamestown on Sunday looking to erase the memory of their last trip to the Jamestown Civic Center. Back on Feb. 19, VCSU led by as many as 10 points in the first half before Jamestown stormed back. The Jimmies scored 64 second-half points for a 108-72 victory.

The Vikings bounced back in a big way though the last time out, leading 38-18 at halftime en route to a dominating 74-46 win against Presentation College. Senior Brittany Lehner led the Vikings with 18 points and Megan Trautman gave the team a boost off the bench with a career-high 16 points.

Lehner leads the Vikings in scoring and rebounding, averaging 17.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

Jamestown is led by point guard Hannah Steele, who averages 13.9 points and 6.3 assists per game.