Blue Jays split at St. Mary's
Few teams in the state tighten the screws defensively like St. Mary's.
It's a big reason the Saints are 12-2 and ranked No. 2 in Class A.
Tuesday night, St. Mary's put the clamps on Jamestown, limiting the Blue Jays to 39 points in a 20-point home victory, 59-39.
"We take pride in our defense. We know if we come out and play as a team defensively we'll have a chance to win every night," said 6-foot-1 senior Tonya Dvorak, one of three Saints with four steals in the game. "Everybody on our team is really focused on defense. We just want to come out every game and make it hard for the other team to score."
They've done that. In eight of their 14 games, they've allowed 41 points or less. For the season they're allowing only 46 points per game.
St. Mary's coach Shannon Copas said there's no secret to his team's stingy ways.
"We work on it every day. Lots of team drills, individual drills," he said. "Honestly, it's not too complicated. We just work really hard at it and the girls have been very receptive to putting in the effort required."
The Saints forced Jamestown into 21 turnovers. The Blue Jays have seen the best Class A has to offer in the last week, hosting No. 1 Century last Thursday before traveling to Bismarck to face the No. 2-ranked Saints on Tuesday night.
"This is a tough stretch for us," JHS coach Andy Skunberg said. "We saw it with Century and obviously here tonight. There's a reason these teams are ranked where they are—they're really good."
Similar to their game against Century, where Jamestown held a late first-half lead, a late swoon by the Blue Jays allowed the Saints to surge in front.
St. Mary's finished the first half on a 12-2 run, five points coming from Taylor Gerving, to turn a 21-16 deficit into a 28-23 halftime lead.
Gerving was one of three Saints in double figures with a game-high 15 points.
"We typically have a lot of 10s, 9s, 8s and that's what you want," Copas said of his team's offensive balance. "It's harder to key in on one or two players when you're getting scoring from a number of players.
"We talk about that as a team ... be happy for the player that leads us one game, because in the next game, it's probably going to be somebody else."
Jamestown got within 30-26 early in the second half on a bucket from Megan Gaffaney, but the Saints scored 10 of the next 13 points with Sydney Smith swishing home a 3-pointer to start the run.
Jamestown shot just 29 percent in the game and went 0-for-10 from 3-point range in the second half.
"We hit a stretch where we couldn't hit a shot, had a few turnovers, and they were able to stretch the lead," Skunberg said. "That's kinda the way it's been the last two games where we're in it, playing well, and then boom, boom, boom they make a run and we're behind the 8-ball.
"But credit St. Mary's. They're a very good team. They make it tough."
Gaffaney and sophomore Kameron Selvig had 11 points each for Jamestown.
Marriann Senftner made six of her 10 shots to finish with 14 points for the Saints. Dvorak added 12. Kaitlyn Wanner pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for St. Mary's, which plays at Williston on Saturday. Jamestown hosts Legacy on Thursday.
Jays 61, Saints 58
Blue Jay boys basketball (7-6) cleared .500 with a three-point victory over St. Mary's.
Mason Walters scored 17 points and hauled in 11 rebounds in the victory for Jamestown. The Blue Jays received 27 points of the bench, including 10 by Ryder Lunzman and eight by Noah Wegenast.
Jamestown built a 34-25 lead at the half before the Saints (3-11) fought back to make it a one-possession game at the end. Gole Gendreau scored a game-high 22 points for St. Mary's.
The Blue Jays also defeated the Saints 79-70 in Jamestown back on Dec. 14. Jamestown will be looking to avenge a 60-48 loss to Bismarck Legacy on Thursday at Jerry Meyer Arena.
St. Mary's 59, Jamestown 39
Jamestown 23 16 -- 39
St. Mary's 28 31 -- 59
Jamestown—Megan Gaffaney 11, Kameron Selvig 11, Courtney Peterson 6, Jessa Anderson 6, Katherine Horgan 5. Totals: 22-56 FG, 7-7 FT, 12 Fouls.
St. Mary's—Taylor Gerving 15, Marriann Senftner 14, Tonya Dvorak 12, Kaitlyn Wanner 6, Abbi Kopp 6, Sydney Smith 4, Maria Mann 2. Totals: 22-56 FG, 9-14 FT, 9 Fouls.
Three-pointers: JHS 4-21 (Gaffaney 2, Peterson 2). St. Mary's 6-11 (Gerving 3, Dvorak 2, Smith). Rebounds: JHS 27 (Gaffaney 5). St. Mary's 38 (Wanner 10). Turnovers: JHS 21. St. Mary's 15. Assists: JHS 13 (Olivia Nihill 3, Peterson 3). St. Mary's 21 (Gerving 7). Blocked shots: JHS 0. St. Mary's 1 (Dvorak 1). Steals: JHS 13 (Alyssa Ukestad 3). St. Mary's 18 (Dvorak 4, Smith 4, Wanner 4).
Records: St. Mary's 9-1 West Region, 11-2 overall; Jamestown 4-5, 7-5.
Jamestown 61, St. Mary's 58
Jamestown 34 27 -- 61
St. Mary's 25 33 -- 58
Jamestown—Mason Walters 17, Ryder Lunzman 10, Noah Wegenast 8, John Horgan 7, Bryan Mosolf 7, Jared Kallenbach 6, Dawson Douty 4, Jacob Hilgemann 2. Totals: 25-61 FG, 6-9 FT, 5-20 3-pointers (Kallenbach 2, Lunzman 2, Horgan), 43 Rebounds (Walters 11), 22 Fouls, 11 Assists (Hilgemann 3), 14 Turnovers, 3 Blocks, 8 Steals (Kallenbach 3).
St. Mary's—Cole Gendreau 22, John Nordberg 12, Ben Schmidt 9, Jaxson Wiseman 6, Luke Kambietz 5, Drew Dosch 4. Totals: 22-59 FG, 13-17 FT, 1-14 3-pointers (Schmidt), 31 Rebounds (Nordberg 7), 14 Fouls (Kambietz), 4 Assists, 13 Turnovers, 1 Block, 7 Steals.
Records: Jamestown 5-5 West Region, 7-6 overall; St. Mary's 2-9, 3-11.