No. 1 Stanley Blue Jays fend off No. 9 Skyhawks
Tied going into the fourth quarter, the No. 1-ranked Stanley High School boys basketball team had its hands full with No. 9-ranked Shiloh Christian Saturday evening at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
Nevertheless, the Blue Jays (13-0) managed to survive and keep their undefeated season alive.
A 20-point outing by senior Wyatt Hanson, 19 more points from junior Seth Hetzel and an 11-0 run in the final minutes carried Stanley to a 60-51 victory over a resilient Skyhawks squad (9-3).
“We preach to our kids as much as possible that defense is going to win at the end,” Stanley coach Kory Anderson said. “We trust our offense – we have a lot of skill offensively – but we got to defend. I think the last three minutes, they really showed effort, battled, worked together and got enough stops to pull it off.”
A bruising first quarter got off to a slow start offensively with 10 points being scored in the first five minutes of the game.
A floater by Stanley senior guard Matt Patten and a three-point play completed by Hanson opened a five-point cushion for the Blue Jays. However, 6-foot-9 junior Macauley Young rolled a shot in off the front of the rim and sophomore Jaden Mitzel drained a triple at the start of the second quarter.
The Skyhawks had evened the score at 11-11. One of nine times in the contest that the score was tied.
One of the more intriguing matchups of the night was between Young and Stanley’s 6-foot-6 senior center Kaedyn Hanson. Young finished with a team-high 17 points to go with 12 rebounds. Kaedyn Hanson narrowly missed out on a double-double as well with eight points and eight rebounds.
“I thought it was a great battle. Two of the best bigs in the state, I believe,” Anderson said. “They kind of went shot for shot there. Young had a great game. He shot better from the outside than I thought he could.”
Wyatt Hanson’s third successful three-point play of the first half put the Blue Jays up 23-18. Stanley pulled out to a 27-20 lead, but it was quickly closed down with a 7-0 Skyhawks run – five of those points coming from Young, including a three-point play of his own with seven seconds left in the half.
Not to be outdone, Wyatt Hanson connected on a 3-pointer at the top of the arc, as time expired, to give Stanley a 30-27 halftime lead.
“We have a lot of guys that we can go to, inside and out,” Anderson said. “It was just his time. And right now, we are early in the year, we don’t really have a good feel for who should take that shot because we have four legit scorers.”
A 3-pointer by Skyhawks senior Jonas Mitzel and a long-range jumper by Young, albeit with his feet squarely on the line, had the score deadlocked once again at 40-40. Jonas Mitzel finished with 10 points.
Following another basket by Wyatt Hanson, Shiloh Christian turned a steal into a Josh Lardy buzzer-beating layup to knot the score at 42-42 going into the fourth quarter.
It rained 3-pointers to start the final frame. Patten, Young, Jaden Mitzel and Hetzel traded shots from distance, 48-48. Hetzel’s three ended up igniting Stanley’s game-winning 11-0 run.
Patten finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
While Young posted the better stat line over Kaedyn Hanson, it was an offensive rebound and put back by Hanson over Young that really put the Blue Jays in control at 54-48.
“We wore each other down and it kind of switched off-and-on with who had the upper hand,” Kaedyn Hanson said. “I think part of it was who had more energy and the better footwork.”
Missed 3-pointers by Shiloh Christian and effectively draining the clock preserved Stanley’s 60-51 win.
The Blue Jays shot 37.1 percent from the floor, compared to 35 percent for the Skyhawks.
Next up, Stanley has an away game Monday against Killdeer.
Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.