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Finishing strong

Jamestown’s Erin Mullowney (5) gains control of the ball in front of St. Mary’s defenders Ashley Wanner (left) and Sarah Stoltz during Tuesday night’s game. (John M. Steiner The Sun)

Erin Mullowney’s 3-point shooting can change games.

It happened again on Tuesday night.

The senior guard from Jamestown hit a pair of first-half 3-pointers that helped the Blue Jays rally, eventually topping Bismarck St. Mary’s 65-36 in their West Region finale at the JHS gym.

“Definitely after I hit that first one, I gain confidence,” said Mullowney, who finished with four treys for 12 points. “I’m more shot-ready down the stretch.”

The Blue Jays entered with a chance to be the No. 4 seed, but Mandan’s win at Dickinson bumped them down to No. 5. The matchup is the same, however, as Jamestown plays Mandan in the opening round of the West Region tournament March 6 at the Bismarck Civic Center. The two teams split in the regular season.

“The girls are getting more confidence,” Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg said. “That’s what we need — confidence that we can do it.”

The win, which avenged a 56-55 loss to the Saints earlier this season, was aided by Mullowney’s ability from the perimeter. Her first 3-pointer tied the game at 11, and the second gave the Blue Jays a 16-11 advantage in what turned out to be a 12-0 run.

“She was pretty emotional early. It was good that she came out and hit some shots,” said Skunberg, referring to it being senior night. “It was a great last memory for her in her last game at JHS.”

Said Mullowney: “We definitely wanted to redeem ourselves after the game we played there. And it being our seniors’ last night, we wanted to go out with a bang.”

Meghan Orr’s 3-pointer gave Jamestown a 23-13 lead, and the Blue Jays never let the Saints to within single digits after that.

Jamestown led 31-20 at halftime and found even more separation afterward thanks to a strong defensive effort. St. Mary’s fell victim to a 22-4 run to start the second half.

“We wanted to keep pushing and get a run,” Skunberg said. “The last two games, Century and Bismarck went on 8-0, 10-0 runs against us. We need to learn to do that. We were up 11 and we had a good chance to bury them and end this game early. We came out with the mindset that we’ve got to go, and they did.”

Paige Peterson and McKayla Orr led all scorers with 19 and 17, respectively. Peterson added 11 rebounds.

St. Mary’s, which is locked into the No. 7 seed and plays Century, was paced by Katelyn Schaffner’s 16 points.

Jamestown 65, Bismarck St. Mary’s 36

St. Mary’s 20 36

Jamestown 31 65

St. Mary’s — Katelyn Schaffner 16, Ashley Wanner 10, Lindsey Schweitzer 4, Cloey Miller 3, Alyssa Beck 2, Kaytlyn Heick 1. Totals 14-50 5-6 36.

Jamestown — Paige Peterson 19, McKayla Orr 17, Erin Mullowney 12, Meghan Orr 6, Kadie Anderson 3, Addie Eamon 5, Emily Reiten 3. Totals 25-59 8-12

3-pointers: StM 3-18 (Schaffner 2, Miller), J 7-19 (Mullowney 4, Meghan Orr 2, Reiten). Rebounds: StM 27 (Schaffner 5), J 46 (Peterson 11). Assists: StM 2, J 12 (McKayla Orr 2). Fouls: StM 15, J 12. Fouled out: J, McKayla Orr. Turnovers: StM 28, J 23.

Records: Bismarck St. Mary’s 4-12 region, 4-15 overall. Jamestown 9-7, 10-9.

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