MSU holds open practice

Minot State University senior Samuel Johnson went second in the slam dunk competition finals Wednesday, giving him plenty of time to make a dramatic entrance.

While teammate Isiah Gandy completed his attempts, Johnson and two teammates slipped out of sight. When Johnson’s turn came, the three rode motorized scooters onto the court, eventually setting them up under the basket.

Johnson attempted to leap over all three before converting a slam, but eventually removed one and settled for scaling two large mopeds.

The “Late Night with Beaver Basketball” event was all about having fun and showcasing personality to about 250 fans in attendance, and nobody seemed to do both as much as the 6-foot-6 transfer from Montana State University-Billings.

“It’s just a good time,” said Johnson, who added a windmill dunk in the final round to win the contest. “It’s good team bonding, good to have the fans out.”

In addition to the dunk contest, the men’s and women’s teams competed in 3-point competitions, 10-minute scrimmages and a dance-off. There were also student participation activities, including a game of knockout, a free-throw contest and a missed opportunity to earn $1,000 in tuition by sinking a half-court shot.

Redshirt freshman Alex Haley won the women’s 3-point shootout, and then topped men’s champion Adam Randall in the final round.

“It’s a fun night to kind of come out and take a peek at who our kids are,” women’s coach Sheila Green Gerding said. “The one thing you see in this event is personality. You don’t get to see that when they play on the court. It’s business and they come to win.”

The women crushed the men in the dance contest, executing well-choreographed steps to a compilation of three hip-hop songs. Senior guard Alisha “Speedy” Jones led the way before returning to center court to upstage the men during their performance, which relied heavily on the moves of 6-10 Serbian post Lazar Boskovic.

“If we can dominate on the court like we can dominate dance competitions we’re gonna win everything this year,” Green Gerding joked.

The scrimmage sessions were played a notch below full speed. The women’s team featuring veterans Katie Hardy, Carly Boag, Morgan Klose and Jones won 17-11.

Boskovic performed well during the men’s scrimmage, showcasing a couple quick moves and deft passing out of the post. He also recorded a monster block on the defensive end.

“We’re getting better very quickly,” men’s coach Matt Murken said. “We have a lot of pieces now that we can put out there. We’re excited to have a couple more weeks of practices, have some scrimmages and get it rolling here in about three weeks.”

The men play an exhibition game at Dickinson State on Oct. 30, and the women host Salish-Kootenai College (Mont.) in a pair of exhibitions on Nov. 2 and 3. Both teams open the regular season at home against South Dakota Mines on Nov. 8.

Daniel Allar reports on Minot State University athletics. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.