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Familiar foe for Jays: JHS meets Braves for second time in a week

Jamestown senior Jakobi Lux watches a pass  Saturday at Wilson Arena. Jamestown plays at the West Region tourney today in Minot. (Chris Aarhus / The Sun)

Jamestown chose to show its hand on Saturday.

Coach Matt Stockert spoke with his players about its two options — they could lay out a specific strategy to beat Bottineau-Rugby on Saturday, only to have to play them again today. Or, they could go with a general game plan and possibly lose, bumping Bottineau-Rugby up a spot and creating a quarterfinal matchup with Century.

“I said, ‘You tell me who you want to play.’ Stockert said. “I saw 16 pairs of eyes that wanted to play Bottineau.”

It showed, too. The Blue Jays (9-12) dispatched of the Braves (13-8) with an impressive display of offensive firepower in a 7-3 win.

The two teams meet again at 1:30 p.m. today in the opening round of the West Region tournament at Minot’s All Seasons Arena.

Stockert said the win has given his fifth-seeded team confidence.

“The kids know they can beat Bottineau,” he said. “Now, they just have to go out and do it.”

Stockert acknowledged the differences this game might bring. Bottineau-Rugby came here last Saturday in the midst of playing three games in less than 48 hours. It lost to Minot on Thursday, but beat Bismarck Century on Friday, before heading to Jamestown for an afternoon game.

Still, standout scorers Harrison Aide and Luke Amsbaugh each tallied a goal.

“They definitely weren’t playing on fresh legs,” Stockert said. “Were they a little slow? Harry (Aide) didn’t look that slow.

“We’re thinking they’ll have a little more go on fresh legs. We can’t afford to stand around and let those two guys have their way with us. They can make us pay for sure.”

Aide and Amsbaugh are the top two scorers in the state with 86 and 80 points, respectively. The third-best point total is Minot’s Quin Fuchs, who has 59 points.

Conversely, Jamestown relies on a more balanced effort. Nick Stockert leads the team with 34 points including 16 goals. Jakobi Lux has 31 points, with 16 goals.

Though Stockert and third-leading scorer Austin Rene (25 points) are underclassmen, the Blue Jays are largely built around a senior backbone.

Both starting defenseman (Brandon Stahlhut and Brady Hoggarth) are seniors, as are Lux from the first line and Nick Watne, Tommy Bruns and Jack Jenson from the second line. The third line also has two seniors on it in Marcus Klein and Austen Meyer. Backup goalie Ty Spitzer is also a senior.

Stockert said this year’s team has come far, considering it didn’t feature much for varsity playing time.

“You look up and down our lineup, there wasn’t a whole lot of experience as far as ice time goes with a lot of our kids,” Stockert said. “I don’t think we’ve (peaked). I think our best is yet to come.

“The kids have done a good job, and we expect to continue that into (today).”

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