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Blue Jays down Saints in opener

Jamestown's Grace Hegerle moves the ball around Bismarck St. Mary's Maria Mann on Tuesday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 3
Jamestown's Courtney Peterson (14) is under attack by St. Mary's Madison Zander (2) and Marriann Senftner on Tuesday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 3
Jamestown's Jessa Anderson looks to pass the ball under the defensive pressure of Abigail Kopp of St. Mary's Tuesday during the season opener at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun3 / 3

Jamestown High School girls basketball watched as Bismarck St. Mary's celebrated at the Bismarck Event Center last season.

The Saints punched their ticket to the Class A state tournament for the first time in two decades back in March, defeating Jamestown in a loser-out game of the West Region tournament.

But it was Jamestown who looked like the better team Tuesday night at Jerry Meyer Arena, as the Blue Jays fought off a second-half onslaught by the Saints to roll to a 52-47 victory. Jamestown is off to a perfect 1-0 start.

"It was talked about before the game," said Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg. "But that was last year and we don't dwell on last year."

St. Mary's (0-2) came into the contest with a game already under its belt, but the Jays showed little rust the first night out. Jamestown took a 17-16 lead with 9 minutes remaining in the first half and led 26-19 heading into the intermission.

"We knew they would have an advantage over us," senior forward Courtney Peterson said, who finished with 13 points. "But we've been working hard in practice. We had a full week of practice, unlike them, to help us get going and get in shape. We knew it was going to be a battle and we would work hard the whole time."

Bismarck St. Mary's used an 8-2 run in the second half to reclaim the lead at 30-29 with 12:05 remaining. The Saints largely controlled play the next six minutes.

"We just got going a little too fast and were a little bit out of control," Peterson said. "But we were able to pull it back in."

Jamestown broke a 41-all tie with a pair of free throws from Kameron Selvig with a little under 7 minutes to play, and the Jays would remain out front. Saint Mary's struggled to convert late in the game, as Peterson sank four freebies at the line to close out the game.

"We had some brain relapses at times with just the little things like back-side help and boxing out," Skunberg said. "But we did enough good stuff to get the win."

Kameron Selvig—one of the players replacing three JHS graduates in the backcourt—led the home team with 16 points and eight rebounds. Junior Jessa Anderson also made her first-career start after coming off the bench last season and finished with 11 points.

Skunberg also played sophomores Jordan Finck, Addi Douty and eighth-grader Ella Falk.

"We have some new blood in there that hasn't had a lot of varsity experience," Skunberg said. "You could tell there was some nerves. It's good to get those out of the way.

"Hopefully those settle down and they can contribute throughout the year."

Jamestown travels to Bismarck High on Friday for West Region contest No. 2.

"I haven't seen them play yet, but they handled Fargo North (84-41)," Skunberg said. "We'll watch some film and be ready to go Friday."

Jamestown 52, Bismarck St. Mary's 47

SM 19 28 -- 47

JHS 26 26 -- 52

SM—Points: Marriann Sentftner 17, Taylor Gerving 7, Maria Mann 6, Madison Zander 5, Madeline Grad 5, Hallie Schweitzr 4, Kylie Haas 2, Abigal Kopp 1. Team stats: 19-65 FGs, 4-21 3-pointers, 5-11 FTs, 31 Rebounds (Mann 10), Fouls (Kopp 4, Gerving 4), 14 Assists, 19 Turnovers, 7 Blocks, 7 Steals.

JHS—Points: Kameron Selvig 16, Courtney Peterson 13, Jessa Anderson 11, Katherine Horgan 5, Grace Hegerle 5, Jessica Walter 3. Team stats: 18-43 FGs, 4-15 3-pointers, 13-22 FTs, 47 Rebounds (Peterson 12), 15 Fouls (Selvig 4, Hegerle 4), 17 Assists (Anderson 6), 4 Blocks, 6 Steals (Peterson 4), 26 Turnovers.

Records: Jamestown 1-0. Bismarck St. Mary's 0-2.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853