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Blue Jays rally, fall short

Chris Aarhus / The Sun Jamestown’s Tanner Lunzman drives by Turtle Mountain’s Brock Keplin on Saturday at the JHS gym.

The second half on Saturday was the type of basketball Kelley Kessler has been looking for.

The Jamestown High School coach watched his squad fight back to within two points after trailing by as many as 18. Still, the hole was too deep in Turtle Mountain’s 72-70 win in West Region play Saturday at the JHS gym.

“I was happy with the way we did things in the second half, but we can’t put ourselves in that position with the hole we dug,” Kessler said. “If we’d fight that hard the whole game, we wouldn’t do that to ourselves. You need to compete for 36 minutes, and we competed for 18.”

Nonetheless, the game went better for Jamestown than Tuesday’s game at Belcourt, which saw Turtle Mountain win 84-65.

“Win by one, win by 100 — it’s a W,” said Turtle Mountain coach D.J. McGillis, whose team had problems at the foul line, finishing 18-of-39 for 46 percent. “We didn’t help ourselves with our free-throw shooting. Overall, I was proud of the way we played. We did a good enough job to survive.”

The Braves struggled mightily from the charity stripe in the final 49 seconds, going 3-of-12. That gave Jamestown numerous chances, and the Blue Jays scored on nearly every opportunity, trimming a 10-point deficit with a minute to play down two with 7 seconds remaining.

Logan Anderson drilled a 3 from the left wing with 13.9 seconds to go to get the Blue Jays to within three at 71-68. Azure made the front end of a pair of free-throw tries, and Tanner Lunzman drove the lane and was fouled, sinking both free throws at the 7-second mark.

Sophomore Landyn Keplin missed both free throws with 3.8 seconds to play. However, Jamestown was out of timeouts, and the best shot it could muster was Nick Fuchs’ half-court heave, which was high off the backboard.

The Blue Jays’ defense played a big role in the rally, holding Turtle Mountain without a field goal over the final 6 minutes, 14 seconds.

Jamestown didn’t shoot well in the first half, making just 8-of-37 shot attempts for 21 percent. The Blue Jays air-balled multiple shots and struggled to find the rim on lane penetration, leading to the Braves’ 43-29 lead at halftime.

“That’s rushing, both mentally and physically,” Kessler said of the shot attempts. “We’re thinking in our head (too fast) that we have to get a shot off.”

Turtle Mountain had three players log double-doubles. Azure finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Jonathan Parisien had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Jordan Davis had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Jamestown was paced by Fuchs, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Lunzman and Anderson each had 15, while Monson added 10 for the Blue Jays, who visit Williston on Friday.

Turtle Mountain 72, Jamestown 70

TM: TiRay Azure 20, Jonathan Parisien 15, Jordan Davis 10, Jalen Jeanotte 8, Kolton Keplin 8, Landyn Keplin 6, Braedon Allery 5. Totals 23-57 18-39 72.

Jamestown: Nick Fuchs 20, Tanner Lunzman 15, Logan Anderson 15, Ross Monson 10, Marc Wagner 5, Tyler Ukestad 3, Landon Weiser 1, Ashton Johnson 1. Totals

Halftime score: TM 43, Jamestown 29. 3-pointers: TM 8-22 (Azure 2, K. Keplin 2, L. Keplin 2, Jeanotte, Jonathan Parisien 1), J 6-26 (Fuchs, Lunzman, Anderson, Wagner, Monson, Ukestad). Rebounds: TM 49 (J. Davis 12, Parisien 11, Azure 10), J 48 (Fuchs 10, Anderson 9, Monson 8). Assists: TM 15 (L. Keplin 5), J 8 (Lunzman 3). Blocks: TM 4 (Parisien 2), J 3 (three with 1). Steals: TM 9 (Azure 4), J 12 (Anderson 3, Monson 3, Fuchs 3). Fouls: TM 24, J 27. Fouled out: TM 1 (Parisien). Technical fouls: TM bench. Turnovers: TM 21, J 16.

Records: TM 5-8 region, 6-9 overall. Jamestown 3-8, 4-10.

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