Cut Bank High School graduate Dakota Dosch and her Miles City Community College women’s basketball team recently wrapped up a remarkable season that took them to Lubbock, Texas for the NJCAA Division One National Tournament. Dosch and her squad won their first 33 games of the season but fell in their opening game on the national stage against Walters State from Tennessee.
After four years of volleyball, basketball and tennis, Dosch originally left CBHS for MSU-Billings with the intention of just being a student. But during her freshman year she began to have the itch to get back out on the court.
“I thought I wanted to be done,” she said. “But after a year off I knew that I didn’t want that anymore. I just really love competing and I knew basketball was the sport I wanted to play.”
Dosch began her search for a school and narrowed her choice to Miles City, a two-year junior college, where she was drawn in with the size and community atmosphere.
“Miles is a smaller school and before I even signed, the people were so welcoming,” she said. “I knew it was a great school with great people. My sister Kasey also lives here so having family was a huge bonus for me.”
While the adjustment for any athlete from the high school ranks to the college stage can be challenging, Dosch’s year away from the sport could have proven to be extra difficult. She credits her coach, Nate Vogel, with having her prepared for her first game in a Miles uniform.
“The first game was pretty intense,” she said. “Coach prepared us as much as he could, but you just don’t really adjust until you actually play in a game first.”
Dosch’s first season in Miles City ended with a 25-8 record and the 5’7” athlete played everywhere on the floor from guard to post. During the pre-season this year Dosch and her team knew they had a chance to be something special.
“During scrimmages in Denver I knew we could be really good if we put in the work we needed to,” she said. “Everyone in Denver contributed in the games and that carried over to the actual season play.”
While the wins piled up, 20 of them by Christmas to be exact, the number of undefeated teams in women’s basketball kept dropping. But Dakota and her close-knit squad continued to focus one game at a time, not letting their undefeated record become a distraction when the pressure could have gotten to them.
“We wanted to keep our streak going so bad,” she said. “But we knew if we lost a game we would love each other the same.”
Miles City dropped their lone game of the season at the National Tournament, a 65-47 loss to Walters State. The usually high scoring Miles squad was undersized, outrebounded and struggled to hit shots from the outside, a calling card for them this season. While the loss stings, Dosch said the experience remains a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“You don’t just get to go to Nationals,” she said. “To just be there and soak it all in with my team was amazing. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”
Dosch was quick to thank everyone from Cut Bank for supporting her on her journey to college athletics, especially this season as she has received numerous calls and messages of both good luck and congratulations. BJ’s Bar and Casino live-streamed the National Tournament game and drew a crowd of locals to see her play on the big stage.
“Coming from a place like Cut Bank is amazing,” she said. “Only a few people can say their community does all of this and I’m very thankful that mine does. Thank you to the Cut Bank community for all of the support this season.”
Dakota’s biggest supporters during her two years at Miles City have been her parents Kerry and Dave who not only drove to Freeport, Ill., (1,178 miles) for the game that clinched their berth at Nationals and the 1,171 miles to Lubbock for the National Tournament, but they routinely made the 425-mile trek to Miles City during the last two regular seasons.
“That drive to Miles City is the worst drive ever,” Dosch said with a laugh. “I’m thankful for them making that drive as much as they could.”
Looking back on her journey from All-State high school athlete, to a full-time college student, to a college student-athlete following her love of basketball, Dosch offered some advice to CBHS athletes looking to make it to the next level.
“Don’t skip your summer workouts. Looking back I would tell my high school self to get into the gym more than I did. I would also tell myself to be a better teammate. If you want to go to the next level, take the initiative and reach out to coaches you want to play for.”