Two in a row for JHS boysDevils Lake standout guard Nate Mertens proved he was the best player on the floor on Tuesday night.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Devils Lake standout guard Nate Mertens proved he was the best player on the floor on Tuesday night.
But the Jamestown High School boys basketball team kept the rest of the Firebirds at bay in a 73-70 Class A nonconference victory at the JHS gym.
Mertens finished with 35 points on 15-of-32 from the field.
“When there’s a player like Nate Mertens out there, no lead is safe,” JHS coach Kelley Kessler said. “You get nervous when players like (him) are out there, but you just have to grind through it.”
The Blue Jays ground out their second win of the season in what Kessler called “a gutsy performance.”
“The kids really gutted it out,” Kessler said. “It was a gutsy win more than anything.”
David Hanson scored a team-high 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting, with his only 3-pointer of the night coming at a crucial moment. The Firebirds rallied to get back within two points at 64-62, but Hanson buried a trey from the left corner that put Devils Lake behind the 8-ball.
“It feels great to get that first win (at home),” said Hanson, a 6-4 forward. “We’re doing a lot better and our defense is doing a lot better.”
Kessler said he’s not surprised with Hanson’s performance.
“Dave’s that type of player,” Kessler said. “We knew he had that in him. When he’s hot, he’s hot offensively. David’s thing his whole career has been, is he willing to defend? The last couple games, he’s shown he is and that makes him one of the better players in the conference.”
Trailing 70-62 with 40 seconds to go, Mertens drained a 3-pointer just off the top of the key. Jamestown’s Scott Nelson followed with a free throw, but Devils Lake’s Spencer Halvorson added a 3 from the right wing to get within three points at 71-68 at the 17-second mark.
Nick Fuchs, who had 12 points, made two free throws and Mertens sank a layup with seven seconds to go. Devils Lake actually forced a turnover in the final five seconds down three, but Merten’s buzzer-beating 3-point try from the top of the key was no good.
Alex McInnes added 13 points and Austin Remmick finished with nine points on a trio of 3s for Jamestown, which improved to 2-5. The Blue Jays host Dickinson and Williston on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
“Dickinson and Williston come in this weekend, it’s not gonna be any easier,” Kessler said. “They have two big centers we have to take care of. One thing we’ve struggled with is defending big guys.”
Jamestown 73, Devils Lake 70
Devils Lake 32 70
Jamestown 34 73
Devils Lake: Nate Mertens 35, Chase Johnson 13, Tim Gleason 8, Austin Erickson 6, Spencer Halvorson 6, Hunter Cichos 1. Totals 29-69 6-10 70
Jamestown: David Hanson 19, Nick Fuchs 12, Alex McInnes 13, Austin Remmick 9, Brandon Wegner 5, Scott Nelson 4, Landon Weiser 3, Sean Lindberg 2, Ashton Johnson 2, Lucas Keller 2, McKade Kleinknecht 2. Totals 23-54 23-39 73.
3-pointers: DL 6 (Gleason 2, Mertens 2, Halvorson 2), J 4 (Remmick 3, Hanson). Rebounds: DL 33 (Mertens 12, Johnson 11), J 36 (Hanson 10). Assists: DL 5 (Mertens 4), J 8 (Wegner 3). Steals: DL 12 (Mertens 5), J 5 (Hanson 2). Blocks: DL 3 (three with 1), J 3 (three with 1). Total fouls: DL 27, J 12. Fouled out: DL 2 (Gleason, Erickson), J 0. Turnovers: DL 13, J 16.
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com