Braves top Blue Jays: Turtle Mountain earns first victory of the seasonAfter 14 straight losses to start the season, Turtle Mountain Community High School’s Tiray Azure made sure game No. 15 wouldn’t be yet another disappointment for the Braves.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
After 14 straight losses to start the season, Turtle Mountain Community High School’s Tiray Azure made sure game No. 15 wouldn’t be yet another disappointment for the Braves.
Inside and out, the 6-foot-1 junior forward torched the net for a game-high 28 points at Jamestown’s Jerry Meyer Arena on Saturday night, helping the Braves lift the weight off their shoulders with a 66-54 victory over the Blue Jays.
“He’s a good player. He got open shots and he hit them,” Jamestown coach Kelley Kessler said. “That’s kind of the formula for success. We’ve just got to do a better job of getting out on shooters and recognizing who’s got the ball.”
Azure pumped in 10 in the first half as Turtle Mountain held a slim 28-23 advantage at the break. But he was the go-to guy for the Braves over the final 18 minutes, hitting a trio of 3-pointers and going 5-for-7 at the charity stripe en route to 18 more points after the break.
“He really played aggressive and went after it tonight,” Turtle Mountain coach Chris Thomas said. “He wasn’t scared to shoot and he’s capable of doing it.”
Azure’s performance overshadowed a stellar second half by Jamestown freshman Logan Anderson. The 6-1 guard scored 16 points over the final 18 minutes and led the Jays with 22 points in the contest.
Nobody else for Jamestown hit double figures in scoring, as the team went 22-for-67 from the floor (2-for-19 from 3-point range) for 33 percent in the game.
The game was a reversal of fortune for Jamestown (2-10, 1-8 West Region), after the team defeated Turtle Mountain 71-67 in Belcourt on Jan. 4.
“When we go back and look at that game, we had offensive and defensive production from a wide variety of people, and it just wasn’t there tonight,” Kessler said. “We didn’t bring it.”
Kolton Keplin (12 points) and Jalen Jeanotte (10) also scored in double figures for the Braves (1-14, 1-12 West Region), as they went 23-for-64 from the field for 36 percent.
“We’ve had a rocky start so far. It feels pretty good,” Thomas said. “It’s a young team. There’s times where you think they are going to break it and get over the hump, and then there’s times where we hit rock bottom. But these kids have a lot of fight and they showed it tonight.”
Jamestown will now take to the road to face the Coyotes in Williston on Friday and the Midgets in Dickinson on Saturday.
“This last stretch of games, if we want to stay out of that (West Region tournament) play-in game, we’re going to have to go and earn it,” Kessler said. “We didn’t earn it defensively, we didn’t earn it offensively, and if these guys want to play in the WDA tournament we’re going to have to go out and earn it.”
Turtle Mountain 66, Jamestown 54
Turtle Mountain 28 38 — 66
Jamestown 23 31 — 54
Turtle Mountain — Tiray Azure 28, Kolton Keplin 12, Jalen Jeanotte 10, Jordan Davis 6, Lane Day 4, Kyle Charette 4, Nathan Martin Jr. 2. Totals: 23-64 FG, 15-19 FT, 6 steals (Keplin 3), 7 assists (Azure 2, Jeanotte 2), 3 blocks (Azure 2), 37 rebounds (Azure 8), 14 turnovers, 16 fouls. 3-pointers: (5-16) Azure 3, Keplin 2.
Jamestown — Logan Anderson 22, Austin Remmick 6, Brandon Wegner 5, Nick Fuchs 4, Ashton Johnson 4, Lucas Keller 4, Alex McInnes 4, David Hanson 3, Scott Nelson 2. Totals: 22-67 FG, 8-12 FT, 3 steals (Fuchs 2), 12 assists (Fuchs 4), 6 blocks (Hanson 2, Anderson 2), 39 rebounds (Anderson 10), 13 turnovers, 20 fouls. 3-pointers: (2-19) Remmick 2.
Records: Turtle Mountain 1-14, 1-12 West Region; Jamestown 2-10; 1-8 West Region.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org