‘Refuse to lose’

Majettes cap 2017 with a gritty win over Williston

Alex Eisen/MDN Majettes sophomore Becca Tschetter (right) shields the ball away from a Williston defender Friday in a West Region game at Minot High School. The Majettes won 64-51.

It’s been a rather brutal and unforgiving calendar year for the Minot High School girls basketball team. Coming into Friday’s West Region conference game against Williston, Minot had only won two games in 2017 — a WDA Tournament play-in game against Turtle Mountain Community High School last season and a 79-52 win over Dickinson in its third game of the season this year.

Yet, with 2018 right around the corner, the Majettes (2-4, 2-2 WDA) appeared to have turned the page and ended this year on a high note with a 64-51 victory over Williston (2-3, 1-3 WDA) Friday evening at Minot High School.

The Majettes matched their two-game win total (2-22) from last season with one of their finest performances in recent memory.

“I believe it was,” MHS coach Bernie Wasser said when asked if this was the best the Majettes have played this season. “I just thought on both ends of the floor they were very productive. We gave up some threes early in the first half and we corrected that. That is kind of what kept Williston in. But, our heart. It was refuse to lose tonight.”

The Majettes opened an early 10-4 lead with a pair of baskets inside by senior Brenna Tschetter and 3-pointers coming from seniors Alli McCoy and Brooke Nelson.

Tschetter was a force inside all evening and finished with a game-high 18 points.

“Last year was definitely a building year,” Tschetter said. “But, we are playing a lot better together this year and a lot of our sophomores have really stepped up.”

Williston responded to Minot’s fast start with eight straight points to take its first lead at 12-10, as the Coyotes easily started breaking the Majettes full-court press and got timely 3-pointers by Emily Jaegar and Danielle Stauffer.

Minot went away from its press and rebuilt a 18-12 lead with sophomore Paige Rosencrans, senior Gwen Mathews and sophomore Allie Nelson getting into the scorer’s book.

But, once again, the Coyotes stormed back. This time they used a 10-0 run with Jaegar and Stauffer both making another 3-pointer. Williston hit five of its seven triples in the first half.

Tschetter and her younger sophomore sister, Becca Tschetter, scored the Majettes last six points of the first half. But, they were matched shot-for-shot by Jaegar and Jalyn Helstad and Williston held a slim 28-24 lead going into the intermission. Helstad had a team-high 15 points and Jaegar added 11 points.

The Majettes went back to their full-court press out of halftime, which forced a pair of back-to-back Williston turnovers and allowed Minot to even the score back up at 28-28.

“We were determined coming out for that second half,” Wasser said. “We had to continue to press, create some turnovers and continue to get the ball inside.”

With Brenna Tschetter converting post moves into points, a Brooke Nelson jumper and Allie Nelson drawing contact for a three-point play opportunity pushed Minot into the lead again at 41-37.

“We had a great intensity out there and had a better second half,” Brenna Tschetter said. “We had less turnovers and we valued the basketball more.”

The Majettes, for the first time this season, had three players finish in double figures with Brenna Tschetter (18), McCoy (14) and Brooke Nelson (11).

Minot put the Coyotes away with a 10-0 run halfway through the second half, 58-43. Williston’s Danielle Stauffer fouled out during the run, and she scored 10 points to also give the Coyotes three double-digit point scorers.

The Majettes outscored Williston 40-23 in the second half for the 64-51 victory.

The margin of victory could have been even larger with Minot missing nine free throws down the stretch and went 13-of-23 for the game.

“I know it was only one game, but a great way to end 2017,” Wasser said. “We got something to come off of and build for Tuesday against Jamestown. This was really important for these kids. It goes to show that the hard work that we have been doing is starting to pay off. Tonight, they were rewarded.”

It wasn’t just a rewarding victory for the players, but for Wasser as well.

“I’ll sleep a lot better tonight, and I’ll definitely sleep a lot better going into next week,” he said. “But, I’m just happy for our kids. It’s their hard work, great attitude and determination that makes our job a lot easier. We are excited for them. It was for them tonight.”

The Majettes join the Magicians for a road trip over to Jamestown High School on Tuesday to kick off the new year. The girls varsity game will be played at 5:45 p.m. with the boys to follow at 7:45 p.m.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.