Strasburg native Brian Nieuwsma named District 9 Coach of the Year
Brian Nieuwsma’s first five seasons as head coach of the Flasher boys basketball team were mostly a struggle, with far more losses than victories.
Those years are now just a distant memory. On Monday night, Feb. 18, Nieuwsma watched his 2012-13 team hoist the District 9 tournament championship plaque.
Flasher defeated New Salem-Almont 54-36 at the Mandan High School gym to claim its first district title since 2005. The Bulldogs improved to 17-5 and extended their winning streak to 10 games.
Flasher averaged just six victories the previous five seasons.
“We had some tough times, but this is why you stick with it. This is why you put in all the time,” said Nieuwsma, who was named the district’s Coach of the Year. “These kids have worked so hard since the beginning of the year. They set some high goals and winning this tournament was one of them.”
Flasher junior Zack Schmidt played on two losing teams before this season.
“We were really young the last couple of years and there were some growing pains,” he said. “But Coach always told us to look to the future. He kept telling us that the hard work was going to pay off, and it has. Basketball is a lot of fun now.”
“Overall, we didn’t have our best day offensively, but we managed to put together a couple of nice runs to put some separation between us,” Nieuwsma said. “I would say our defense is what won it for us. We dug in the whole game.”
(As of press time Monday, Flasher was to meet Center- Stanton, the fourth seed from District 10, Monday at the Bismarck Civic Center in the quarterfinals of the Region 5 tournament. The tournament ends Friday with the championship round. His high school coach, Brent Kleinsasser, is the District 6 Coach of the Year, and the Strasburg Clippers advanced to the regional tourney in Jamestown. )
Nieuwsma is the son of Ed and Anne Nieuwsma of Strasburg and the grandson of the late Peter E. and Johanna Nieuwsma. Brian and his wife, Shannon, have a son, Bryce.