Dewald leads state in scoring for 15-4 Blue JaysKyra Dewald was always the ball-hawking, tough-nosed guard she is now. But the high-scoring outputs have come largely in her senior season, as the Jamestown High School standout leads the state with a 21.6 point-per-game average.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Kyra Dewald was always the ball-hawking, tough-nosed guard she is now.
But the high-scoring outputs have come largely in her senior season, as the Jamestown High School standout leads the state with a 21.6 point-per-game average.
“It’s my last year and I wanted to do my best,” said Dewald, who stands 5-foot-4. “Whatever the team needs.”
Her ability was on display at Bismarck High on Feb. 22, when she poured in a game-high 37 points, sinking 11-of-21 shots and finishing 11-of-13 from the free-throw line. The now-fourth ranked Blue Jays (15-4) won 83-77 to earn the season sweep over the Demons.
“I felt the shots were going; I was feeling it in that game, I guess,” Dewald said. “I didn’t know I was scoring that much.”
She’s been feeling it all season.
With 11 20-point games, she’s been a dominant force on the offensive end. She has three 30-point games.
“She has a knack to score; a knack around the hoop,” Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg said. “She can get shots off underneath, especially this year. She’s going to the line more times than anyone else in the WDA.”
Her name is peppered at the top of numerous other offensive stat categories. She’s made the most free throws in the state at 113 and her 140 attempts are second-best. She leads the WDA in free-throw percentage (80.7 percent) and is tied for most 3-pointers made at 36.
Bismarck Century has done the best job holding down Dewald, though the end result was a mixed bag. She scored only 14 points in the first meeting on Jan. 15 and was held to a season-low 13 at home to the Patriots on Feb. 19. However, Century’s focus on Dewald cost it elsewhere the second time, as Jamestown dealt the top-ranked Patriots their only North Dakota loss, 47-46.
Skunberg said the team has to be prepared for postseason defenses to come out at Dewald much like Century did.
“The Century night, they had pretty good athletes that could put on heavy pressure on defense,” he said. “We’ll probably see that in the WDA. There might be some team’s box and one-ing her this year. They’re gonna try to make someone beat them other than Kyra.”
Dewald has used her keen eye to find her teammates as well, averaging a tad more than three assists per game.
“She does a pretty good job of recognizing,” Skunberg said. “She spreads the wealth as much as possible.”
But she’s also been able to turn steals into easy points, especially at midcourt where she helps trap opposing ball-handlers. She leads the state in the category with 3.3 per game.
“She has a knack for getting her hands on the ball,” Skunberg said. “She can always tip the ball away, and we get a few more possessions that way.”
Dewald averaged 11 points a game two years ago, when she started every game as an anxious sophomore. Jamestown made the state tournament that year. She scored 12.5 points a contest as a junior.
“I was pretty nervous,” Dewald said. “It probably took me the whole season, then through my junior year (to get used to it). When I started off as a senior, I felt more confident.”
She’s the only player on the roster to have logged minutes in a state tournament, and she said it’s important to her that her teammates get to have that feeling.
“The adrenaline is going way more and it’s way more intense,” Dewald said. “You feel like there’s more on the line.”
To get there, the Blue Jays have to qualify through the West Region tournament, which starts Thursday in Bismarck. Jamestown hosts St. Mary’s, a team Dewald averaged 20 per game against during the regular season.
Still, Skunberg said the important part is that the offense takes what is given to it, and that it’s not fueled by any criteria.
“Never do we look and say Kyra needs to score 20 for us to win tonight,” Skunberg said. “We’ve got enough players on the team to put up points and contribute. ... It all depends on what the defense is giving us and what’s available there.”
Dewald’s focus on basketball started a long time ago, but she was able to cross off one of her dreams as a junior when she signed a letter of intent to play for Jamestown College.
“That’s what she wants to do; there’s always been a goal to play at the next level,” Skunberg said. “She got that opportunity last year when she signed to Jamestown College.”
Dewald said the chance to play in her hometown was too big to pass up, as was the education she’s hoping to get.
“I wanted to stay close to home,” she said. “They have nursing and it was the offer I wanted, so I took it.”
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com