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Jamestown falls short at buzzer

Jamestown's Ryder Lunzman moves the ball Tuesday during Blue Jay basketball action at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 2
Jamestown's Mason Walters prepares a launch to the basket Tuesday against Bismarck's Joe Jahner Jr., (24) and Jalen Ziegler during a Blue Jay basketball game at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2

Jamestown High School was running right behind the leaders in the Western Dakota Association Tuesday night, but it fell just short of the finish line.

With about five seconds remaining, sophomore forward Boden Skunberg had a chance to win the game at the buzzer—and get his 33rd point of the night—but the shot fell short at the buzzer. Bismarck escaped with a 70-68 victory at Jerry Meyer Arena.

"I told the team to keep their heads up," said Blue Jay boys basketball coach Jacoby Lloyd. "We just took one of the best teams in North Dakota down to the wire."

A loss could have put a damper on Bismarck's No. 3 state ranking. The Demons' only conference loss came at the hands of Bismarck Century 10 days prior.

"Most of us have an eye on the state championship," said junior guard Joe Jahner Jr. "I think we can do that easily. It's mostly about playing our best basketball and sharing the ball well; playing good defense."

Bismarck has two crucial West Region matchups remaining. One coming against second-place Mandan, and the other vs. fourth-place Minot.

It was looking as if Jamestown might pull away after the break taking an early eight-point lead in the second half. The Demons responded with an 18-2 run and within five minutes the visitors had an eight-point lead of its own with 10 minutes remaining. Jahner Jr. led the run with 11 points, including three 3-pointers.

"They did a nice job of speeding us up and we took the very first shot instead of the best shot," Lloyd said. "We have a bad tendency right now of letting our offense affect our defense. If we miss a shot we don't sprint down the floor and get a stop. We do it play by play but it needs to be every single play."

Bismarck led by as many as 12 points, but a 16-2 Jamestown run—led by Skunberg making some tough shots, including a four-point play—had the Blue Jays leading 63-61 with three minutes to play.

"(Skunberg) was hitting some really tough shots that no one in the WDA can do," Jahner Jr. said. "He's only a sophomore so that's amazing."

A 6-0 Bismarck run down the stretch turned the tide. Skunberg was able to cut the deficit to 70-68 in the final 15 seconds, but the Jays came up short.

Jahner Jr. led four Demons in double-figures with 13 points. Along with Skunberg's game-high 30 points, junior forward Mason Walters pitched in 14 points for the Blue Jays.

Jamestown travels to Minot on Friday for a rematch with the Magicians. Minot won 74-66 earlier this month.

"I think they are leading the WDA in rebounding, second in scoring per game and second in points allowed per game," Lloyd said. "They don't do much wrong."

Bismarck 70, Jamestown 68

BIS 31 39 -- 70

JAM 35 33 -- 68

BIS—Joe Jahner Jr. 13, Matt Trolliey 12, Ian Schafer 12, Jalen Ziegler 10, Trajan Jangula 8, Canyon Stonecipher 6, Tanner Davis 7, Kaide Gimbel 2. Totals: 30-67 FG, 7-18 3-PT, 3-8 FT, 35 Rebounds, 18 Fouls, 10 Assists, 8 Turnovers, 7 Steals.

JAM—Boden Skunberg 30, Mason Walters 14, John Horgan 9, Noah Wegenast 5, Bryan Mosolf 2, Ryder Lunzman 4, Jared Kallenbach 2, Jacob Hilgemann 2. Totals: 26-56 FG, 4-13 3-PT, 12-15 FT, 38 Rebounds, 12 Fouls, 9 Assists, 13 Turnovers, 6 Steals.

Records: Jamestown 6-6 West Region, 8-7 overall; Bismarck 11-1, 12-3.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853