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HEADED TO STATE: Jays punch ticket to FargoDome

Jamestown’s Mason Walters turns and scores over Holten Bradley of Bismarck St. Mary’s during Friday night’s semifinal game of the West Region tournament at the Bismarck Event Center. Will Kincaid / Bismarck Tribune

Jamestown High School boys basketball made program history at the Bismarck Civic Center Friday night.

The Blue Jays are headed to the championship game of the West Region tournament for the first time ever after defeating Bismarck St. Mary's 76-62 in the semifinals.

The victory clinches a state tournament berth for the Jays. Jamestown will play Bismarck Century in the title tilt Saturday at 7:45 p.m.

"I'm unbelievably proud of how hard our team worked, but it's one of those things where it can't be our Super Bowl," said Blue Jay coach Jacoby Lloyd. "We want to be at the level that Minot, Century and all those teams at that top level. We want to make it to the final game and that can be our end result."

Excellent play from the duo of Boden Skunberg and Mason Walters led the Blue Jays. Skunberg scored a game-high 35 points Friday and the game-winner Thursday for the upset over Mandan.

"Boden and Mason couldn't have played any better and their teammates are unbelievably unselfish," Lloyd said. "To understand how their night was going and to give them the ball like they did. Sometimes you have to take a back seat when somebody else has a hot hand. Those guys really performed tonight."

The duo combined for all 19 points to begin the contest. It wasn't until John Horgan hit a 3-pointer with 6:10 left in the first half that any other player scored.

St. Mary's kept the first 18 minutes close with steller play from Cole Gendreau and Luke Kambeitz. Buckets from Gendreau and Kambeitz gave the Saints their only two leads of the contest at 27-25 and 29-27, respectively.

"Cole Gendreau is as scary as any player I've seen in the WDA tournament," Lloyd said. "The way he can attack the basket and then shoot a 30-footer is unbelievable. We were trying to rotate some fresh bodies, add some length—maybe some quickness—and give them different looks. I thought in the first half we let them get comfortable driving on our guards."

Skunberg and Walters capped off a 7-0 run to end the half to give Jamestown a 38-33 lead going into the break.

Jamestown pulled away in the second half after Horgan scored 12 points, along with solid play from Skunberg and Walters.

Jamestown will now turn its attention to Century today. The Blue Jays have dropped a pair to the Patriots during the regular season.

The Pats' Josh Sipes, Trey Mattern, Kade Amundson and Kade Lynch average a combined 51 points per game.

"We just got to keep doing what we did before," Walters said. "Hitting our shots and getting stops is the most important thing in the WDA tournament."

Jamestown 76 St. Mary's 62

ST 33 29 -- 62

JAM 38 38 -- 76

ST—Cole Gendreau 28, Luke Kambeitz 17, John Nordberg 6, Jaxton Wiseman 4, Ben Schmidt 3, Andrew Nagel 2, Drew Dosch 2. Totals: 27-56 FG, 5-19 3-PT, 3-10 FT, 18 Rebounds, 11 Steals.

JAM—Boden Skunberg 35, Mason Walters 21, John Horgan 12, Jared Kallenbach 4, Dawson Douty 2, Jacob Hilgemann 2. Totals: 32-52 FG, 11-22 3-PT, 1-2 FT, 36 Rebounds, 14 Assists, 14 Turnovers.

Records: JAM 12-11. ST 8-16.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853