Demons top Majettes in a free throw frenzy, 49-39

Justin Martinez/MDN Junior guard Allie Nelson (2) rises above a Bismarck High defender for a layup during Minot High’s home game against the Demons on Saturday.

Free throws, free throws and more free throws.

That was the storyline of Saturday’s showdown between the Minot High School girls basketball team (2-4) and Bismarck High (4-4). In a game where the two teams combined for 55 attempts from the charity stripe, it was the Demons who capitalized on the freebies en route to a 49-39 victory.

“I liked the way we got to the foul line, but we missed too many of our free throws,” MHS head coach Bernie Wasser said. “I thought we played hard, but we just didn’t get it done. We have to find ways of putting more points on the board.”

Both teams found success from the field in a free-flowing first half, as the Demons entered halftime with a narrow 25-23 lead. Junior Paige Rosencrans kept the Majettes in it by tallying eight points and drilling a pair of threes from the top of the arc in the process.

That’s when the game came to a crawl.

Minot found its way to the line with ease in the second half, starting the period off with three trips to the charity stripe in the first five possessions. Unfortunately for the Majettes, the team struggled to sink shots from areas other than the free throw line.

It wasn’t until 7:12 remained in the game when junior Allie Nelson made a reverse layup along the baseline that Minot recorded its first field goal of the second half, cutting Bismarck’s lead down to five.

But the deficit never got any smaller, as the two teams exchanged trips to the free throw line for the rest of the game.

Bismarck and Minot combined for 13 free throw attempts in the final five minutes. The Demons’ mid-range accuracy proved to be the difference. Bismarck went 21-for-24 on the night, while Minot went 21-for-31.

The Majettes finished with just two made field goals in the second half, and the Demons prevailed with the 49-39 win.

“I think we did a good job of getting to the rim,” Rosencrans said. “But we just needed to finish our shots off and take better care of the ball.”

Nelson finished with a game-high 18 points on 14-of-18 shooting from the charity stripe, while Rosencrans chipped in 10 points.

For the Majettes, they’ll look to get back in the win column on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. when they hit the road to take on Turtle Mountain Community High School.

“We just have to continue to fix the little things on offense,” Wasser said. “Right now we’re pressing so hard for a win that we just overthink some things. We need to go out there and just play basketball, but we’ll figure it out.”

Justin Martinez covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.