No repeat upset for No. 7-seeded Majettes in the first round

Alex Eisen/MDN Majettes Alli McCoy (14) runs into St. Mary's Sydney Smith (12) in the second half of a first round WDA tournament game played Thursday in Bismarck.

BISMARCK — Sixteen days after shocking themselves with one of the program’s biggest wins in recent memory, a 59-55 overtime win over Bismarck St. Mary’s, the No. 7-seeded Minot High School girls basketball team strolled into the WDA tournament wanting to wield some of that same magic once again.

The outcome this time around, however, was reversed.

The upset-minded Majettes (9-13) were their own worst enemy Thursday evening in a 64-47 loss to No. 2-seeded St. Mary’s (18-4) in the first round of the WDA tournament at the Bismarck Event Center.

“Just look at the turnovers, that’s the story of the game right there,” MHS coach Bernie Wasser said. “We just didn’t take care of the ball. We had 27 turnovers. I thought we played hard, we just didn’t manage the game real well. I thought we would be OK because they didn’t press us, but a lot of our turnovers were in the front court.”

The Majettes had more than double the number of turnovers than the total of field goals they made (12).

The Saints, on the other hand, shot 53.3 percent from the floor (24-for-45) and didn’t make a 3-pointer (0-for-6). St. Mary’s scored 31 of its 64 points off Minot turnovers.

Recent history certainly played a factor in how the Saints played as well.

“It was a motivating factor for us,” St. Mary’s coach Shannon Copas said about the overtime loss a little over two weeks ago. “We were down a couple of people when we went up there, but they played a heck of a game up there. So, we knew this was going to be a heck of a game too, because they have improved big time and have really played well toward the end of the season. By no means did we overlook this game.”

The Saints raced out to a 9-0 lead, but the Majettes chipped away and even led a couple times in the middle of the first half before looking up at a 11-point halftime deficit, 32-21.

“We made a run to get ourselves back into it, but we made some mistakes and they got some easy layups, free throws and pretty soon the (deficit) is a little bit more than what we wanted it to be in the first half,” Wasser said. “We just didn’t play our best.”

Sophomore Becca Tschetter tried to spark the Majettes by coming off the bench and hitting a 3-pointer near the start of the second half, but Minot never got the deficit back into single digits. They were even aided by getting into the bonus early and shot 20-for-31 from the free throw line.

It was scoring in the run of play that did them in. Late in the second half, the Majettes had a lengthy field goal drought of over 6 minutes.

“We take pride in our defense,” Copas said. “That’s what we wanted from the onset of the game, obviously, but we made a couple little adjustments at halftime to play our lockdown defense.”

Sophomore forward Allie Nelson finished with a team-high 10 points and six rebounds for Minot. Tschetter had eight points while her senior sister Brenna Tschetter was held to seven points and three rebounds in the post.

“I thought we got impatient at times with trying to get the ball inside, which we want to do, but sometimes we didn’t let it happen and tried to do it too quickly,” Wasser said.

The Saints had balanced scoring at the top with three players in double figures: junior Taylor Gerving (15 points), senior Tonya Dvorak (13) and senior Sydney Smith (12).

St. Mary’s advances to the WDA semifinals where they will face No. 3-seeded Mandan for a berth in the state tournament. The Majettes head to a loser-out, must-win game to keep their season alive at 6:15 p.m. this evening against No. 6-seeded Bismarck High (11-11).

“We are not going to let it end tomorrow,” Wasser said. “That’s something we have just talked about. We have to have some leaders step up tomorrow and every player needs to take it upon themselves to play better than they have all year. That’s what it takes in the postseason to move on.”

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