Demons dominatePutting a perfect half of basketball together defensively is usually just part of the locker room pep talk.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
Putting a perfect half of basketball together defensively is usually just part of the locker room pep talk.
It’s wonderful in theory, but it’s incredibly hard to accomplish in Class A boys basketball.
But if that’s what the Bismarck Demons had in mind during the second half against the Blue Jays in Jamestown on Saturday, they came about as close to perfection as any team could.
The Demons held the Blue Jays to just a single field goal after halftime — and to just 5 total points over the final 18 minutes — as Bismarck improved to 7-5 overall and 6-3 in the West Region with a 52-23 victory over Jamestown.
“If I could answer that I wouldn’t be so darn frustrated,” said JHS coach Kelly Kessler, concerning his team’s lone bucket of the second half. “You try to put the kids in a position, and maybe I’m not doing a good enough job of putting kids in position to score.
“But you’ve got to give (Bismarck) credit. They’re one of the best defensive teams, year in and year out, so I would say it’s probably a combination of the two.”
The front end of an unsuccessful three-point conversion attempt scored by Jamestown’s Lucas Keller with 14:21 left to play in the game is what turned out to be the Jays’ only field goal of the second half. Jamestown went 3-for-8 at the free-throw line after the break, accounting for its 5 points of the half.
As a team, Jamestown shot just 16 percent from the floor in the game (8-for-49), and was led by Keller and David Hanson with 5 points each.
Jamestown hung around in the first half, but ended up trailing 33-18 at the break largely due to turnovers. The Jays committed 14 turnovers in the first 18 minutes and 23 total in the game.
“That’s been our M.O. all year. We’ve had a problem with turnovers and that’s a ball security thing,” Kessler said. “Our skills need to get better so we can execute the things we want to do, and against a good defensive team you can’t turn the ball over.”
Jamestown was leading 12-11 with 10:32 left in the first half, but a 12-0 run by the Demons put the visitors out front for good at 23-12 with just over 8 minutes to go before the break.
The bright spot for Jamestown was that the Demons weren’t exactly lighting things up either. Bismarck went 21-for-58 from the field, and was led offensively by Taylor Schafer’s 15 points.
“Quite honestly, I thought we played a better game tonight defensively, but you’ve got to reciprocate that on the other end and put one together,” Kessler said. “It’s still a process. We’re still learning and hopefully getting better, so we’ll continue to work.”
Jamestown (2-9, 1-7 West Region) will be hosting Turtle Mountain (0-13, 0-11 West Region) on Saturday.
“We’ve kind of run through the gauntlet of the top half of the league here the last month and a half, and we’ve taken some lumps because of it,” Kessler said. “But as long as the kids are still willing to work … we’re going to keep getting after it.”
Bismarck High 52, Jamestown 23
Bismarck 33 52
Jamestown 18 23
Bismarck — Tyler Unruh 2, Taylor Schafer 15, Seth Heilman 1, Ben Joliffe 8, Nick Nustad 11, Dylan Werner 4, Bronte Liggins 4, Troy Hausauer 3, Tyler Clairmont 2, Nate Dinga 2. Totals: 21-58 FG, 8-13 FT, 18 fouls, 39 rebounds (Clairmont 8), 4 assists, 12 turnovers. 3-pointers: (2-3) Schafer 1, Nustad 1.
Jamestown — Nick Fuchs 3, David Hanson 5, Scott Nelson 4, Lucas Keller 5, Brandon Wegner 4, Alex McInnes 2. Totals: 8-49 FG, 6-14 FT, 11 fouls, 29 rebounds (Keller 8), 4 assists (Nelson 2), 23 turnovers. 3-pointers: (1-17) Fuchs 1.
Records: Bismarck High 7-5, 6-3 West Region; Jamestown 2-9, 1-7 West Region.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at 701-952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org