Majettes basketball recovers from slow start, still falls late to Williston

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High junior Paige Rosencrans (3) tries to dribble past a Williston double team Thursday evening in Minot. The Majettes lost, 49-42.

It looked like the problem had been solved. Williston had backed out of its zone defense, while the Majettes were scoring consistently and holding a seven-point lead late in the West Region affair.

The Minot High School girls basketball team was well on its way to winning its first home game this season. But, the Coyotes decided they weren’t going to let that happen.

Williston (4-7, 3-7 WDA), with roughly five minutes remaining, came out of nowhere and put together a 14-0 run to stun the Majettes (3-5, 3-5 WDA) Thursday night in Minot, 49-42.

“We just had some mental breakdowns in the last 3-4 minutes,” MHS head coach Bernie Wasser said. “We were in a place we haven’t been in quite a while — holding a lead. We didn’t do a very good job with that. But, I thought we played very hard.”

It was a nightmare start for the Majettes, as they didn’t make their first field goal until Landry Maragos knocked down a jumper eight minutes and 30 seconds into the first half.

Williston, however, didn’t take advantage and struggled mightily as well. The Coyotes didn’t make their first bucket from the floor until over six minutes were gone in the contest.

Missed shots and turnovers took over the game.

Despite the Majettes’ shooting woes against Williston’s imposing 2-3 zone, Minot High only trailed by five points at halftime, 17-12.

MHS made three shots and five throws in the first 18 minutes, while Williston made six shots and four free throws.

“Well, you know what, I loved the defensive effort,” Wasser said. “It was a low-scoring thing, as both teams struggled to put the ball in the hole in the first half. A lot of energy was spent, and we knew that. But, as poorly as we shot, we kept ourselves in it.”

The Majettes got hot from behind the arc in the middle of the second half. Triples by seniors Regan McNally and Sophie Wedar cut Williston’s lead to two, 30-28.

The three-point outburst forced the Coyotes out of their 2-3 zone. Minot was pleased, at first, to face a straight up man-to-man defense.

“I was excited when they got out of that zone,” Wasser said. “Our girls primarily see man, so we know what to do. But, we got excited and we tried to do things too quickly.”

MHS junior Becca Tschetter, who struggled shooting in the first half, scored her only five points at a critical time. She made a tough runner off the glass and then buried a 3-pointer to give the Majettes a small cushion. Allie Nelson followed that up with a steal and fast break layup. Then, Paige Rosencrans made a free throw to give Minot its biggest lead of the night, 42-35.

Three minutes later, however, Williston had tied the game back up (42-42) on a 3-pointer by Brooklyn Douglas in front of her own bench. She finished with a game-high 15 points.

Made free throws by Emily Jaeger and Jalyn Helstad carried the Coyotes to the win, 49-42. Both players also finished in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

“We were on 42 (points, for what seemed like) yesterday,” Wasser joked. “But, nonetheless, down the stretch we struggled scoring and a lot of it was just turnovers. Williston defended us hard.”

Minot High was led in scoring by Nelson with 11 points. McNally dropped in three triples in the second half for a total of nine points.

The Majettes travel to Bismarck on Saturday to take on Legacy. The West Region contest is scheduled to tipoff at 2 p.m.

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