Magi basketball North Dakota’s newest No. 1

Majettes climb to No. 3 in state

Ryan Ladika/MDN Minot High’s Grayson Schaeffer scored nine points in the Magicians’ Tuesday win over the Bismarck Demons.

The newest top-ranked team in North Dakota Class A boys’ basketball resides in the Magic City.

In the hours following the then-No. 2 Minot Magicians’ 92-87 road victory over the then-No. 3 Bismarck Demons Tuesday night, the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NDAPSSA) agreed to bump the Magi up to the top spot in the state in the latest rankings released Wednesday night.

Minot’s Tuesday win, the 11th in 12 tries for the Magi this year, completed the season sweep of the Demons after Minot bested its in-state rivals by a 79-67 final score at the Magic City Campus Jan. 7. The 67 points the Magicians limited the Demons to remains a season-low in points scored by Bismarck through its 12 games this year.

“We fought for this win. Every time they made a run, we responded. These kids have guts,” Minot head coach Dean Winczewski said following the win.

The Magi fought through a hotly-contested first half Tuesday night and brought a 43-41 lead into the locker room after the first 18 minutes of play. After leading by as many as 10 points late in the second half, Minot outscored Bismarck 49-46 following the halftime pause to clinch their five-point win.

Darik Dissette, the team’s leading scorer with a tick under 20 points per game entering the Tuesday matchup, produced a team-high 22 points in the winning effort. Aric Winczewski followed with 19, and Eric Wentz and Morgan Nygaard joined their teammates in double digits with 16 and 15 points, respectively.

The Magicians’ victory shoved the Demons down to the fifth spot in the latest poll, behind fourth-ranked West Fargo Sheyenne, No. 3 Bismarck Century and No. 2 Fargo Davies. Minot received 13 of 15 total first-place votes, with Fargo Davies and Century splitting the remaining two. West Fargo was the only other program to receive votes in the poll.

Not to be lost in the boys’ effort, the Minot Majettes also built upon a strong beginning to their 2021-22 campaign in the capital city Tuesday night.

Head coach Jason Schwarz’s club was expecting a bitter Western Dakota Association battle in their rematch with the lady Demons, and the Majettes triumphed by a 65-50 margin to move to 10-1 on the season. The contest marked Minot’s first win over Bismarck this season after the Demons handed the Majettes their sole defeat by a 61-55 score in Minot Jan. 8.

The victory propelled Minot High to No. 3 in the state in the latest Class A rankings behind unanimous No. 1 Bismarck Century and second-ranked Fargo Davies. The Demons fell to the fourth spot just head of No. 5 West Fargo, with the likes of Grand Forks Red River, West Fargo Sheyenne and Devils Lake all receiving votes as well.

Mariah Evenson, averaging just over 10 points per game in her first 10 contests this year, eclipsed that mark in the first half with 11 points to lead the Majettes to a 35-22 halftime advantage.

Maya Aguilar also hit double digits in the first half with 10, and later finished with a team-high 16 upon the conclusion of a second half that Minot won by a 30-28 score. Evenson tallied a total of 15 on the night while Maggie Fricke scored 15 and Leelee Bell added 12. Avery Lunde rounded out the Majettes’ scoring with seven points.

The Majettes next contest is slated for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 on their home floor against the 3-7 Bismarck St. Mary’s lady Saints, while the Magi will host the 6-4 Saints at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 29.


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