Minot High boys basketball coach Dean Winczewski preaches "effort, defense and unselfishness." It's his mantra.
But executing that plan to perfection left the Magicians with just a four-point lead against an overmatched opponent Tuesday night.
The second half went more according to script as Minot posted 53 points and outscored Jamestown by 18 over the final 10 minutes en route to a 79-57 West Region win at Magic City Campus.
Minot High School senior forward Colter Hustad shoots over Jamestown's Ross Monson during the Magicians' win Tuesday at Magic City Campus. Hustad had 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The cure for a mild 26-point first half was simple.
"We finished baskets," Winczewski said. "We didn't turn it over and we finished plays."
The Magicians (2-1 overall, 1-1 West Region) generated copious chances in the opening 18 minutes, but shot 40.9 percent from the field and committed the majority of their 14 turnovers.
But those weren't poor shots, they were gimmes that they missed. And those turnovers were the right passes at the wrong time.
In the second half, the shots fell (18 of 29 field goals for 62.1 percent) and the passing miscues turned into assists.
And the Magicians' defense wore on a Jamestown offense that grew impatient.
Minot capitalized on some quick-trigger shooting by the Blue Jays (1-2, 1-1) during a 16-3 run that put the game away.
Minot junior guard Dakota Halvorson drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Magicians ahead 57-44, then picked off a pass shortly after and finished with a layup to cap the run and force a Jamestown timeout.
"Second half we became less patient and as a result they got some easy rebounds and some run-outs and easy scores," Jamestown coach Kelley Kessler said. "When you don't make a team defend, they're gonna be a better offensive team."
The Blue Jays scored seven of the first nine points of the second half to seize a 29-28 lead, but Halvorson drilled a 3 on the ensuing possession, which turned out to be the final lead change.
"We gotta bring the first punch when we get on the floor," Minot senior center Colter Hustad said. "We kinda got punched first in the second half and we realized that was enough of that and we punched them back."
The 6-foot-5 Hustad had a 6-0 run by himself early in the first half that gave the Magicians a 15-13 advantage - a buffer it would hold through halftime. The big fella posted 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds after remaining largely quiet in Minot's first two games.
"He stepped up huge tonight," Winczewski said. "I think he was pretty disappointed with how he played in the first two games, but he was a different kid tonight. He got on the glass, got second chances, wanted the ball. He was just a difference-maker tonight for us."
The Magicians outrebounded Jamestown 37-26, with 13 boards coming on the offensive end. When Halvorson wasn't stymieing Blue Jay momentum with a trey, Hustad was cleaning up a miss for an easy putback.
"They're a big, aggressive team," Kessler said. "They're strong and unless all five guys are blocking out every time, you're gonna give those up and those are absolute killers in basketball."
Halvorson led the Magicians with 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including a 3-for-3 performance from downtown. He had 13 after halftime.
Junior Noah Bosh and senior Jordan Seideman also finished in double figures with 12 and 10, respectively.
Jamestown sophomore Logan Anderson put up a team-high 14 points, but needed 17 of his team's 55 shots to do so.
Winczewski said the Magicians rectified many of the errors that plagued them in a blowout loss to Bismarck High on Thursday.
"I give our kids credit for not being satisfied with where we were and coming out and having a nice effort," he said.
Ryan Holmgren covers Minot High sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.