The Beulah Miners are this year’s representative out of Region 7 and Beulah is out to prove the doubters wrong.
At 19-4, this year’s Beulah boys basketball team has been busy defying expectations all year.
“I know this probably wasn’t expected by a lot of people,” said Jeremy Brandt. “Last year we were expected to win our region, and this year not so much, I think.”
That’s because this year’s team had to replace the entire starting lineup from last year’s state team.
“It was difficult from losing all the seniors from last year–a good starting five seniors,” said Chad Morsette Jr. “To rebuild again, we made a big accomplishment.”
Morsette, Jr. has been at the forefront of the rebuild. After having to sit out his junior year with a knee injury, the star guard has led the team with 17 points a game.
“It’s deceiving how fast he is, and he can pull up on a dime,” said Jonah Larson.
That’s Garrison transfer Jonah Larson, who’s also been a huge part of the rebuild. After a couple of weeks learning Beulah’s faster play style, the 6’5″ big man transformed into a core starter, putting up 11 points and 10 boards per contest.
“I think he grew a lot and I think he just fit in right away with us,” said Trey Brandt. “He played well against basically everybody.”
The freshman Brandt is one of the few guys who had varsity time last year, and he’s become their leader in assists as well as their third leading scorer.
“You don’t think of him as a freshman when you watch him play,” said Larson. “He’s playing at junior or senior level.”
Coach Brandt says the Miners have also developed some crucial role players throughout the season in seniors Shaye Yeager and Sean Gierke.
“Both of them had a great region tournament,” Jeremy Brandt said. “Shaye in the championship game–I think he had 17. Sean has been shooting the ball better at the end of the season. Defensively we know he does a good job of on-ball defense.”
The team says they’re playing their best basketball now, and it’s hard not to agree. Since late December, the Miners have won 16 of 17, and one of those was a win against Shiloh, their upcoming opponent at state. Even though some didn’t predict Beulah to reach the “B,” the fact is they made it, and they don’t plan on heading home early.
“This has always been a hard-working group of kids,” Jeremy Brandt said. “They don’t assume anything. They go out and they know they have to earn it.”
Beulah’s defense is one of the best in points allowed at just 44 a game.
Tipoff in Minot is at 1 p.m.