Magi tops TMC 83-63 in regional playoffs

Will host Legacy in semis on Thursday

Robert Brewer/MDN Minot's Eric Wentz (left) drives baseline on a Turtle Mountain defender in the opening moments of the Magicians’ home playoff game on Tuesday evening. He led all scorers with 22 points including six field goals from downtown.

The Minot Magicians advanced to the WDA West Region semifinals by virtue of their 83-63 home win over Turtle Mountain Community on Tuesday night. It was the team’s 13th straight win of the season.

The crowd was in full throat on the Magic City Campus to start the game as both teams had raucous fan support. Turtle Mountain got off to a fast start as they built up a 16-8 advantage with about 10 minutes to go before the half. After the initial slow start, Minot’s offense began to heat up. The Magi went on a 17-4 run which was capped off by Darik Dissette baseline jumper after he ripped a loose ball away from an opposing player near Minot’s basket.

A wing three ball from Eric Wentz pushed the Magi lead to 28-22 inside four minutes remaining in the half. Turtle Mountain answered right back with a 10-2 run of their own to forge ahead 32-30 inside two minutes left in the period. Senior forward Michael Ross scored Minot’s last five points of the half, including a baseline buzzer beater from downtown off a feed from guard Deonte Martinez. At the break, both teams were deadlocked at 35-35.

In the beginning of the second half, things remained tight as both clubs exchanged the lead on multiple occasions. Eventually, it was Minot who gained the upper hand thanks in large part to good ball movement on offense which led to high percentage looks for multiple players. Trailing 49-47, it was Wentz again who cashed in from downtown to give the Magi a one-point lead with just over 12 minutes to go.

Turtle Mountain remained hot on Minot’s heels as the score stood at 59-55 in favor of the Magi inside nine minutes left. A wing three from RaShawn Wilcox followed by a driving layup from Martinez pushed Minot’s lead to 64-55. A few possessions later, Wentz knocked down three from the top of the key which gave the Magicians their first double-digit lead of the game at 69-57.

Turtle Mountain trimmed the deficit to eight points down the stretch, but that would be as close as the Belcourt Braves would come for the remainer of the game. Wentz led all scorers with 22 points as six of his eight field goals coming from three point range. Meanwhile, Dissette and Wilcox each chipped in with 14 points apiece in the victory.

Up next for the Magicians, they will host the Bismarck Legacy Sabers on Thursday evening. Fourth-seeded Legacy defeated fifth-seeded Mandan 79-72 in a WDA West Region quarterfinals matchup on Tuesday. In its two previous wins over Legacy this season, Minot had a combined margin of victory of six points.


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