Dallas Ehrmantraut should get paid an assistant coaches’ wage.
The senior point guard runs the offense for the Verndale Pirates basketball team.
In fact, Verndale head coach Jordan Hinkle tailored most of his offense around Ehrmantraut.
“Everything we do is dictated off of him,” said Hinkle. “All of our offense comes from what he reads and decides to do. He’s like a quarterback who has the ability to make audibles. He has the ability to do what he thinks is the best at that time. Our offense runs through him and what’s different this year than in years past is he may not get the ball back until after three or four reversals, but he’s trusting his teammates to make good things happen.”
Good things happened Feb. 14 when Ehrmantraut and the Pirates beat Staples-Motley 67-55. The four-year varsity starter finished with 28 points, nine assists and four steals.
A week before that, he scored 16 to help Verndale rally and beat Wadena-Deer Creek 62-54. He followed that with 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in Verndale’s 67-55 win over New York Mills Feb. 8.
In the Pirates’ 71-50 win over Sebeka Feb. 19, he scored 26 points. It was Verndale’s fifth-straight win.
“I like the offense,” said Ehrmantraut. “I’ve been starting varsity for four years. I have the experience and so for coach to do that for me it makes me feel good. I have the mental mindset where I can figure things out on the court. I can tell what things defenses are doing to try and stop us. With him giving me this responsibility it makes me feel good.”
Ehrmantraut’s numbers show he’s capable. He’s averaging 20.8 points, 6.1 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals a game. He’s shooting 40 percent from the field, 30 percent from 3-point and 71 percent from the line. He surpassed 1,000 career points Dec. 14 in a 73-56 win over Bertha-Hewitt Dec. 14. It was the first time he beat B-H in his career. He helped Verndale sweep the Bears with a game-high 26 points in a 76-70 overtime win Jan. 31.
Those two wins helped Verndale sweep all its neighboring opponents.
“Beating those teams is huge,” said Ehrmantraut. “We hadn’t beaten Bertha twice in one season in 10 years. Beating Staples and Wadena, those were two big wins against 2A schools. People might say Staples is down, but they play a hard schedule. That was a good win for us.
“As a season, I’m really happy with how we have played. We’ve doubled our wins from last year and we’ve come along way as a team. We probably have three or four guys averaging around 10 points. My teammates can really take it and score as well.”
Hinkle called Ehrmantraut an intelligent basketball player with an understanding of the game and a work ethic hard to match. But, he added, Ehrmantraut is a better person.
“That’s why he’s going to be successful,” Hinkle said. “He knows what his goals are and he works hard to achieve them. He is a good student. Whoever really wants him on their team next year is going to get a hard worker and a good kid. They’ll get a player who they never have to worry about being in trouble or ineligible academically. He’s the type of kid you want.”
When asked what his biggest selling point to college coaches would be, Ehrmantraut said: “I’m a hard worker. I always give 100 percent. I’ve been told I’m coachable and I like to get my teammates involved. That’s what it would be. I will simply work hard.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Mitch Bednar, Pierz, finished with 24 points against Staples-Motley.
Daniel Newton, Lake Region, finished with 20 points, six assists and three steals against St. Francis.
Caleb Baker, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 20 points, nine assists and six steals against Pequot Lakes.
Jordan Redmond, Pequot Lakes, finished with 26 points against Pelican Rapids.
Hockey: Spencer Fenske, Little Falls, finished with two goals and two assists against Sartell.
Mark Anez, Little Falls, finished with two goals and three assists against Detroit Lakes.