Jays fall short: Packers hold off late push by JHSEvery time the Jamestown High School basketball team went on a run, it was halted by a defensive switch.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — Every time the Jamestown High School basketball team went on a run, it was halted by a defensive switch.
West Fargo switched between man-to-man and zone throughout the game, using the former to go on a late 9-2 run in a 71-66 win over the Blue Jays in a Class A state quarterfinal Thursday at the Bismarck Civic Center.
“At the end of the season, the teams that win are the ones that play the best half court man-to-man,” WF coach Barb Metcalf said. “Especially against western teams; they’ve got a little more of an aggressive flavor to them.”
Andy Skunberg, whose team plays Wahpeton in loser-out play at 6 p.m. today, said the adjustment periods certainly hurt.
“It took us sometimes a little while to adjust to it,” he said. “Once we finally got in a groove, we were getting points. That’s a heck of a team over there. They shoot the ball pretty well.”
Amanda Levin was the X-factor, scoring 20 points for the Packers including eight straight to start the second half. The junior guard is known as a defensive specialist and averaged seven points a game during the regular season, good for fourth on the team.
“We’ve been telling her all season long that she’s got to shoot the ball,” Metcalf said. “She does so many things, defensively. She gets in a defensive mode and she forgets she’s a good shooter.”
Trailing 56-47, the Blue Jays put together a 9-1 run that was started by an Addie Eamon jumper from the elbow and capped by Paige Peterson’s bucket from the low block.
But Christine Baltezore drained a momentous 3-pointer from the top of the key to put West Fargo back up by four (60-56) and the Blue Jays were never able to get it back to a one-possession game. They fell behind 69-60, but McKayla Orr drained two 3-pointers in the final 20 seconds to close the gap. Orr finished with 13 points and Billie Buchanan added 11.
“We battled and had a couple of bad possessions at bad times,” Skunberg said. “We had some empty looks and had some turnovers. That was pretty much the game.”
Jamestown led just once in the game, a 14-13 advantage early in the first half after Rebekah Horgan hit a trey from the left wing. The Blue Jays used 3-pointers to help stay within striking distance, finishing 9-of-18 from the floor. Kyra Dewald and Orr each had three.
That was just fine with Metcalf, who opted to let Jamestown shoot from the perimeter while in a zone defense vs. pounding the ball inside.
“We were gonna make them beat us with the 3-pointer, that’s the least-percentage shot,” said Metcalf, whose team meets Bismarck High at 3 p.m. today in the semifinals. “(Dewald) hit her share of 3s, but we also didn’t want to get in foul trouble and we wanted to conserve some energy so we could play our best defense (at the end) and that’s our man-to-man.”
Keeping an eye on Dewald was also a big part of the game plan, Metcalf said. Dewald finished with only five points in the second half, but had a team-high 19. She scored her 1,000th point on a long jumper in the first half.
“We knew the key was three,” said Metcalf, referring to Dewald’s number. “They’ve got a wonderful team. That No. 3 is a heck of a shooter. ... This was probably one of the best games of the day as far as two teams duking it out.”
West Fargo 71, Jamestown 66
Jamestown 32 66
West Fargo 35 71
Jamestown: Kyra Dewald 19, McKayla Orr 13, Billie Buchanan 11, Paige Peterson 7, Addie Eamon 7, Rebekah Horgan 3, Erin Mullowney 3, Miah Dabill 3. Totals 24-61 9-12 66
West Fargo: Amanda Levin 20, Cassidy Thorson 17, Christine Baltezore 14, Lexi Lennon 10, Jolene Woodbury 5, Shelby Gustafson 3, Cassidy Nelson 2. Totals 25-54 16-25 71
3-pointers: J 9-18 (Dewald 3, Orr 3, Mullowney, Dabill, Horgan), WF 5-14 (Baltezore 3, Woodbury, Lennon). Rebounds: J 31 (Eamon 7, Dewald 7), WF 42 (Lennon 10). Assists: J 14 (Orr 6), WF 12 (Thorson 4). Blocks: J 0, WF 2 (Lennon, Gustafson). Steals: J 11 (Orr 4), WF 11 (Thorson 4). Fouls: WF 21, J 15. Fouled out: J, Dewald. Turnovers: J 15, WF 16.
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com