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Paige-turner: Peterson’s monster game lifts Blue Jays to first win

Chris Aarhus / The Sun Jamestown High School senior standout Paige Peterson (14) maneuvers through the Mandan defense during Friday night’s game. The Blue Jays beat the Braves 70-60.

The best defense against Paige Peterson on Friday night was putting her in foul trouble.

That only worked for the first half, though.

The 6-foot senior post was nearly unstoppable in the second half, dumping in 19 of her game-high 34 points and finishing with 20 rebounds in a 70-60 victory over Mandan at the JHS gym.

The West Region victory gave the Blue Jays (1-1) their first win of the season. Peterson had 15 points and 18 rebounds in a loss at Fargo Davies last week.

“She posts up hard — we had a lot of great high-low looks,” Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg said of Peterson. “She’s a 6-footer, and there aren’t a lot of tall girls in our conference. We’re trying to find ways to get her the ball and it’s been working. We’ve got to continue to do that.”

Peterson said keeping the ball up has paid dividends early.

“I’m working on the high release,” she said. “Making sure it gets nice and high.”

Jamestown was in control late in the first half, as it had a 32-23 advantage. However, Peterson and point guard McKayla Orr went to the bench with foul trouble, and it showed. Mandan closed with a 13-2 run for a 36-34 lead at halftime.

“This year, refs are calling things tighter,” Skunberg said. “We’ve got to play smarter. We’ve got to have those girls on the court. Obviously, they’re difference-makers. The more they’re on the court, the better team we are. The other girls kind of feed off them.”

Peterson made a bucket to tie it right away in the second half, but Mandan responded with a 7-0 run. It wasn’t until the 10:17 mark that the Blue Jays finally kicked it into high gear.

Trailing 47-42, Peterson — in the process of finishing eight straight Blue Jay points — sank a short jumper that jumpstarted the Blue Jays. Jamestown poured in 22 points over the next 7½ minutes, holding Mandan to just two field goals during that span.

“We weren’t quite in foul trouble and therefore, we could do (a press),” Skunberg said. “We’re starting to see post players bring it up because they don’t want to deal with our guards.”

Back-to-back 3-pointers off the right wing from Erin Mullowney and Meghan Orr sure helped. It was Mullowney’s second trey during the run, as her first tied the game at 47.

“Our shots weren’t falling and we finally made that run,” Skunberg said. “We hit those three 3s, and it was game over. If we can start hitting those earlier, that would definitely help us.”

Orr finished with 13 points and Mullowney added 10 for the Blue Jays, who visit Minot on Thursday.

Mandan was paced by Chelsea Peterson and McKayla Howling Wolf, who had 19 and 16 points, respectively.

Jamestown 70, Mandan 60

Mandan 36 60

Jamestown 34 70

Mandan: Chelsea Peterson 19, McKayla Howling Wolf 16, Hannah Hanson 9, Sheyanne LaVallie 4, Shelby Anderson 6, Kiara Ogden 3, Mackenzi Higlin 3. Totals 25 6-18 60.

Jamestown: Paige Peterson 34, McKayla Orr 13, Erin Mullowney 10, Addie Eamon 7, Sam Johnson 3, Meghan Orr 3. Totals 27 12-21 70

Records: Mandan 0-1, Jamestown 1-1.

Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached                    at (701) 952-8462 or