Falling flat

Blue Jays soar to 57-45 win over Majettes

Photo courtesy of Sean Arbaut Minot High sophomore Allie Nelson (2) gets tangled up with a Jamestown defender in a West Region girls basketball game played Thursday at Minot High School.

In a battle for fifth place in the West Region, the Minot High School girls basketball team faltered with mostly themselves to blame. Turnovers and miscues aplenty by the Majettes (6-9, 6-8 WDA) allowed Jamestown (10-6, 7-6 WDA) to swoop in and grab a 57-45 road win Thursday evening at Minot High School.

“We didn’t play very well tonight, for whatever reason,” MHS coach Bernie Wasser said. “It was a big game and we didn’t take on the challenge that was there. I think some of it started right from the very beginning by not taking care of the ball, gave up too many threes and we just came out flat.”

After both teams traded points to start the contest, the Majettes used a rare spurt of energy to produce a 9-3 run and took a 13-11 lead. It was Minot’s first lead of the night. They led for the final time a minute later after a long two-point jumper by senior Brenna Tschetter, 15-14.

Sophomores Paige Rosencrans and Kameron Selvig countered each other with 3-pointers in the corner. It was Selvig’s second of three triples in the contest to keep the Blue Jays in the lead, 23-20. Selvig, coming off the bench, finished with a game-high 19 points for Jamestown.

“When you get those couple early threes, that kind of sets the tone,” Blue Jays coach Andy Skunberg said. “But, give them credit, they didn’t back down at all. They were hitting shot for shot with us.”

Photo courtesy of Sean Arbaut Minot High senior Brenna Tschetter (34) fights through two Jamestown defenders Thursday in Minot.

Majettes sophomore forward Allie Nelson was very effective in the paint. She scored Minot’s last four points of the first half and finished with a team-high 14 points. Nelson was one of the few positives that the Majettes had going for them, and Jamestown struggled to slow her down.

“We did a good job of jumping to the ball and knowing where their shooters are,” Skunberg said. “But, Nelson is tough to stop. She is lanky and she got the shot up quick before we could double. She did a good job inside. We just didn’t want to give up easy points tonight.”

The Blue Jays took a 30-24 lead into halftime after a triple by sophomore Jessa Anderson.

Back door cuts gashed the Majettes at the start of the second half. In a flash, Jamestown had built up a 14-point lead (44-30) following a 3-pointer by senior Megan Gaffaney. The Blue Jays made eight triples in the game and Gaffaney finished with 16 points.

“(Olivia) Nihill, with seven assists, did a good job of finding the girls,” Skunberg said. “It’s a team effort. We need to spread the wealth as much as we can by driving and kicking. We got enough girls that can hit threes and make shots. We just got to free them open, no matter who it is.”

Trying anything to turn the game around, the Majettes went to their full-court press. It had a minimal effect, much like the press Jamestown used against Minot in the first half.

It was mostly unforced turnovers in the half-court offense that hurt Minot the most.

“Not taking care of the ball and our energy just wasn’t there defensively,” Wasser said. “I just don’t know what it was. We were just flat tonight. It wasn’t us.”

Minot got the deficit back into single digits, briefly, but Jamestown always had an answer.

Hopes of a Minot rally were shut down when Jamestown sophomore Katherine Horgan powered to the rim on a step through move, drew contact and the foul. She made both the shot and the ensuing free throw to finish with eight points and put the Blue Jays up 51-39.

Brenna Tschetter and Allie Nelson scored the last two baskets of the game, 57-45, and were the only two Majettes to score in double figures. Tschetter narrowly getting there with 10 points.

Minot’s Brooke Nelson (7 points), Rosencrans (5), Becca Tschetter (4), Alli McCoy (4) and Gwen Mathews (1) also got on the scorer’s sheet.

With a 63-50 win earlier in the season, Jamestown takes both games over Minot in the regular season. The Majettes have lost their last three games.

“We got to bounce back,” Wasser said. “We got to reflect back on our last few games and got to get some things turned around. It’s not the end of the world. But, at the same time, we have to recognize some things and we have to improve in a lot of areas.”

The Majettes travel down to Bismarck twice next week to face Bismarck High at 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Legacy at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 10). Six games remain in the regular season.

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