Gut check time
Stagnant offense dooms Magi in 48-38 loss to Century
There was an electric atmosphere inside a packed-out Minot High School gymnasium Tuesday evening, but there wasn’t enough voltage to jump start the Magicians’ offense.
In a defensive chess match, No. 2-ranked Bismarck Century (13-2, 10-2 WDA) pulled away in the second half to extend its winning streak to nine straight with a 48-38 road win in Minot.
The 38 points scored was a demoralizing season-low, as Minot (11-4, 8-4 WDA) came in averaging a West Region best 77.3 points per game.
The Magi shot an abysmal 28.8 percent from the floor (15-for-52) and, for the first time this season, only had one player score over 10 points.
“It’s a tough loss,” said MHS senior Chandler Albertson, who matched his season average with a team-high 15 points. “But, we got a long time to fix this… Well, not a long time. A month until tournament time and that’s when it really matters.”
A stinging defeat, much like the 79-50 loss in Bismarck on Dec. 16. This time, however, the Magi were right in it. But, again, couldn’t get out of their own way.
With hardly a stoppage of play, the tempo was fast and furious. A pace that usually suits the Magi, but fatigue quickly wore down both sides and resulted in a low-scoring game.
Senior forward Josh Sipes was the Patriots’ offense early on by scoring nine of Century’s first 14 points.
Trailing 14-7, Minot turned to Albertson. He knocked down two long triples to get the Magi back within a point, and then added a tough finish inside to give Minot a 15-14 lead.
The teams traded baskets, with plenty of misses in between, to get to halftime tied at 21-21. Senior Peyton Lamoureux and sophomore forward Devin Mikell scored for the Magi and the Patriots got offensive production from senior guard Kade Lynch and junior guard Treyton Mattern.
Defense and rebounding allowed Minot to stick around.
“Defensively, I thought we were really good,” MHS coach Dean Winczewski said. “Rebounding – they are going to have more because we missed so many shots – we actually had more offensive rebounds (6-3) and kept them off the glass. Give up 48 points and you should have a chance to win a basketball game.”
Mikell locked down Century’s 6-foot-6 center Kade Amundson to just two points in the first half. Amundson, however, did all his damage following the intermission.
Six quick points in the second half by Amundson had the Patriots jump out to a 29-23 lead.
Meanwhile, Minot couldn’t execute any offense whatsoever. Turnovers and poor shot selection slowly sucked the life out of the Magi.
“We didn’t play well together,” Winczewski said. “We got a month to fix it and it has to be on them if they want to. If they want to fix, then they will fix it. If they don’t want to fix it, then I don’t know what the answer is.”
A couple of contested turnaround jumpers by Lamoureux dropped and junior Alex Schimke completed a three-point play to get the Magi back within three points at 33-30. Lamoureux finished with seven points and Schimke had six.
Minot cut its deficit to three points twice more following a steal and layup by senior Lofton Klabunde (38-35) and a 3-pointer by Albertson (41-38), but that’s as close as the Magi got.
“We just have to move the ball more on offense and be less selfish,” Albertson said about fixing Minot’s offensive woes.
Century sealed the victory with a 7-0 run in the final three minutes.
A contested, bricked 3-pointer off the back iron with 1:50 remaining summed up Minot’s night. The Magi didn’t even bother playing the foul game, down 10 points, and the briskly played affair had an appropriate swift conclusion.
Lynch led the Patriots in scoring with 12 points with Sipes (11) and Amundson (11) close behind. Century shot 47.7 percent from the field and only attempted one free throw, which was made on a three-point play late in the game.
Minot converted on all three of its free throws and went 5-for-20 on 3-pointers.
The Magi wrap up this week with another home game at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Jamestown.
Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.