Blue Jay girls hoping 3rd time against Majettes is the charmThe last time the Jamestown girls’ basketball team met up with Minot, the Blue Jays struggled mightily to find the bottom of the net. The team shot a miserable 22.2 percent from the field and amassed just 35 points.
The last time the Jamestown girls’ basketball team met up with Minot, the Blue Jays struggled mightily to find the bottom of the net.
The team shot a miserable 22.2 percent from the field and amassed just 35 points.
Today, when the Blue Jays take the court opposite the Majettes to open the West Region tournament, it’s no secret JHS coach Andy Skunberg is looking for a much-improved offensive outing.
“We just were not hitting shots,” said the third-year Blue Jay coach. “We had some good open looks, but the shots just weren’t falling that night.”
Kayla Thoele is Jamestown’s leading scorer averaging 13.4 points per game — seventh in the West Region —and Kyra Dewald is averaging 11.8, but it hasn’t just been the top two scorers to carry the offense. Julie Fuchs and Paige Peterson have each led the team in scoring on different nights, and McKayla Orr and Jade Lind have each turned in a few double-digit-scoring nights, providing Jamestown with a few viable options on the offensive end.
“I think we’ve had a good week of practice and I thought we’ve been shooting the ball pretty good this week,” Skunberg said. “Hopefully we can shoot with a little confidence, make a couple early and maybe we can build from that.”
Poor shooting is tough to overcome, but when the shots aren’t falling, rebounding becomes essential. Jamestown, however, in what was its worst offensive outing of the year, wasn’t able to control that facet of the game either.
The Majettes (11-5 West Region, 14-5 overall) outrebounded the Blue Jays 42-29, and Skunberg knows those numbers can’t be repeated today if Jamestown is going to get out of the first round with a victory.
“With a team like Minot, you have to keep them to one and done shooting,” Skunberg said. “Paige has been stepping up the last half of the year getting rebounds.”
Peterson is the sixth best rebounder in the region with 8.37 rebounds per game and averaged 10.5 rebounds in the month of February. The 6-foot sophomore along with Thoele and junior Billie Buchanan, who average 6.2 and 5.3 rebounds per game this season, respectively, will have their hands full.
Holly Johnson and Jayd Eggert, both seniors for the Majettes, combine for an average of 16 rebounds per game. Johnson, an all-state post, is pulling down 8,7 rebounds per game this season — third best in the region — but she’s also one of the top scorers with a 17.8 points-per-game average.
“It’s tough to slow Holly Johnson down, she’s one of the best players in the state,” said Skunberg. “We just have to contain her, know where she is at all times and not allow her to get any open looks.”
Jamestown (6-10 West Region, 7-12 overall) has held her under her season average in both meetings this season and a big reason is because of Jamestown’s ability to cause turnovers.
The Blue Jays have forced Johnson to turn the ball over 12 times this season, and possessing three of the top five pocket-pickers in the West Region played a big role.
Lind, Dewald and McKayla Orr are third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the region in steals per game, and it has been their aggressive style of defense that has opened up a lot of opportunities on offense.
“We need to create some easy scoring opportunities off of steals,” Skunberg said. “Those girls can cause a lot of havoc. Holly Johnson is the one that brings it up and if we can deny her from making plays I like our chances.”
The season will continue for the Blue Jays regardless of how today’s game plays out, but a win in the opening round would guarantee a spot in a state-qualifying game and move them one step closer to advancing to state for the second straight year.
“They know what to expect and they know what it takes to go on,” said Skunberg. “They know it’s a brand new season now with zero wins and zero losses. If a team can get hot and win two out of three games minimum can get there. They had a taste of it last year and hopefully that experience goes a long ways this weekend.”