Too much to handle

Upset-minded Majettes fall to No. 1 Century

Minot High senior Alli McCoy passes the ball to sophomore teammate Paige Rosencrans in a WDA girls basketball game Monday against Century at Minot High School. Alex Eisen/MDN

Minot High School sophomore guard Paige Rosencrans knocked down a 3-pointer to open Monday’s West Region girls basketball game. No. 1-ranked Bismarck Century had its way after that.

The Patriots (15-0, 12-0 WDA) couldn’t be stopped offensively and ran away with a 76-50 road win over the Majettes (6-8, 6-7 WDA) at Minot High School.

“They are the No. 1 team in the state for a reason,” MHS coach Bernie Wasser said. “They are just a tough matchup. They are relentless on defense from baseline-to-baseline. They have depth, great players and are well coached.”

The Majettes were 5-1 at home and had won four out of their last six games before running into Century’s buzzsaw yet again. At least this time around Minot doubled its scoring output, having been previously beaten 72-25 at Century on Dec. 15.

“I thought we played much harder than the first time we played them,” Wasser said. “We took care of the ball a little better and defensively we did well at times. Effort wise, I was very pleased with how hard we played.”

Alex Eisen/MDN Century senior Mariya Kinnebrew (35) attacks the rim against the Majettes' defense Monday at Minot High School.

Monday’s contest was more competitive and closer to what both teams have been averaging in West Region play this season. Century came in scoring 71.3 points per conference game with a margin of victory of 27.7 points. Minot puts up 52.9 points per conference game on average, while limiting opponents to 56.7 points.

Limiting the Patriots offensively couldn’t be accomplished on Monday. It didn’t matter what Wasser threw at them.

At first, the Majettes used a 2-3 zone to combat Century’s inside presence with 6-foot-4 sophomore forward Lauren Ware, who came into the contest averaging a team-high 15.6 points per conference game.

The Patriots countered the zone by knocking down a barrage of 3-pointers.

“We were trying to slow them down,” Wasser said about starting with a 2-3 zone. “It’s tough to match up with their personnel. So, we went with the 2-3 zone to try and slow them down, make them make extra passes. But, you give up a little bit there too. We were just hoping that they weren’t going to come out on fire, which they did of course. So, we had to get out of it and go back to regular man-to-man.”

Following a three-point play completed by MHS sophomore Becca Tschetter to end a Century 8-0 run, the Patriots went off on a 16-0 run and held the Majettes scoreless for over seven minutes to grab a commanding 24-6 lead.

Century junior guard Lilly Keplin scored seven straight points for the Patriots at one point. And, once she got hot, Keplin just kept rolling. She racked up a game-high 29 points with five 3-pointers.

“(Lauren) Ware had her share, but (Lilly) Keplin totally went off on us tonight,” Wasser said.

Seniors Brenna Tschetter, Alli McCoy and Brooke Nelson all contributed offensively for the Majettes at the end of the first half to keep the score from getting too out of hand. At halftime, Century led 44-25.

Minot backed out of using its 2-3 zone in the second half, and Ware was ready to punish them. Ware scored 12 out of her 14 points in the second half, including a stretch where she had nine straight Century points.

“It was pick your poison,” Wasser said. “Once we did go to man-to-man (defense) they didn’t have as many easier looks, but then you have to give up some inside and that’s tough with Ware down in the post… Even with Ware inside, we couldn’t help in as much because she is such a good passer and kicking it out to the shooters. They complement each other with the perimeter shooters and the good post play.”

Minot’s bright spot in the second half was sisters Becca Tschetter with Brenna Tschetter. Becca made three 3-pointers to finish with a team-high 15 points, while Brenna kept working hard in the post to contribute 12 points.

They were the only Minot players in double figures with McCoy (6 points), Rosencrans (5), Allie Nelson (3), Brooke Nelson (3), Tia Haskins (2), Gwen Mathews (2), Regan McNally (1) and Lauren McLean (1) rounding out the scoring.

The Majettes close out this week with another home game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Jamestown.

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