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MHS suffers first loss of season

Minot’s huge run not quite enough in 84-76 loss to Bismarck

Ryan Ladika/MDN Eric Wentz goes up for a layup in the first half of Minot's Friday night contest against Bismarck.

The gymnasium at Minot High School was as packed as it’s been since the beginning of the pandemic for a crucial matchup between the first-place Minot Magicians and the second-place Bismarck Demons Friday night. Cheers echoed off the brick walls of a packed house for the first time in weeks and the student section, appearing at its first game of the season, made its presence felt, decked out in all black.

The unbeaten Magi certainly had their hands full against the Demons, losers of only their first contest of the season. A slow start and some costly turnovers had the Magicians facing a 31-21 disadvantage midway through the first half.

The war of attrition between the West region’s top two teams was far from over. With three minutes and 19 seconds before halftime and the home team trailing 39-27, Minot guard Teegan Kinchen found himself all alone in the near corner. He frantically waved his arms to signal his teammates, and upon receiving a perfect pass, drilled a three-point shot from deep to ignite the rally that would get Minot back in the contest.

The Magi would unleash a 13-0 run to stun the visiting Demons and send Minot to the locker room grasping a slim 40-39 lead.

The Magicians would pick up right where they left off to start the second half, with a crucial triple from Kinchen to extend Minot’s run and advantage.

The second half was much more balanced, as the largest lead either team saw for the first fifteen minutes was just six. The Magicians were able to tie the score a on a pair of instances, but it was the Demons who were in command for most of the half. A pair of made free-throws by Michael Ross with just over four and a half minutes to play brought the Magi to within three points, at 69-66.

Following a pair of free points from Bismarck immediately after, the Demons went on a lengthy run of their own to open up a 10-point lead with under a minute to play. The Magi struggled to keep up, and suffered their first defeat of the campaign by a final score of 84-76. Darik Dissette led the team in points with 26. Deonte’ Martinez, averaging 24.5 points per game entering Friday’s action, scored 19 points, continuing his streak of double-digit tallies in every game this year.

Minot’s next scheduled game is a road matchup against Turtle Mountain Community High School with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff January 12.

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