CONVINCING WIN: Skunberg drops 36 in Jays' routing of Saints
Jamestown High School boys basketball began its 2018-19 campaign against the same team it ended last season facing: Bismarck St. Mary's.
After falling in overtime to West Fargo during the quarterfinals of the Class A state tournament last March, Jamestown was forced to turn around and play the Saints 16 hours later in loser-out play. Jamestown slept-walked through the first 24 minutes and ultimately lost 77-68.
Sophomore Boden Skunberg wasn't having any of that Tuesday night at Jerry Meyer Arena, as the North Dakota State men's basketball verbal commit dropped 25 of his 36 points in the first half in a convincing 83-49 win over St. Mary's to open the season. The Blue Jays are 1-0, while the Saints dropped to 0-2.
"My teammates were giving me open shots and good looks," Skunberg said. "I give credit to them."
Skunberg used last summer to take his game to the next level. The junior played for the Pentagon Schoolers, an AAU team based in Sioux Falls, S.D.
All that hard work showed against the Saints. Skunberg helped Jamestown leap out to a 29-4 advantage midway through the first half. Jamestown led by 21 at the break, 42-21, receiving 11 points from senior Mason Walters to go along with Skunberg's 25.
"He and Mason play so well together and it'll only keep growing," said Blue Jay coach Jacoby Lloyd. "The thing Boden didn't do until late last year was shoot the 3-pointer. He's worked very hard on shooting it. It seemed like every time he shot it was going in."
Skunberg dropped 11 more points in the second half in only 11 minutes of playing time. Overall, the 6-foot-5 forward scored 36 on 13 of 19 from the field, including a perfect 4 for 4 from 3-point land.
"It was a pretty silent 36 from my point of view," Lloyd said. "It was pretty effortless. He didn't take any bad shots, didn't rush anything and he was under control. The thing I was impressed with is he wasn't flying down the lane and didn't get a single charge called on him.
"He's a kid that presents a problem when he gets a defensive rebound and goes full-court. If he rebounds the ball well we'll be a in a good position because he can take the ball and go with it."
Walters finished with 23 points, including 10 of 18 from the field.
"For having a lot of the attention put on him, he did a nice job weathering the storm and stayed true to himself," Lloyd said. "I just want to see him get a little more creative and gain some confidence."
Defensively, Jamestown held St. Mary's to 38-percent shooting. Jaxson Wiseman scored a team-high 13 points and Ben Schmidt was the only other Saint in double figures with 10.
Lloyd did say, however, that there's still work to do on the defensive end.
"Tonight we took a step forward, but there's some things that I would've liked to have seen that could've been better," Lloyd said. "We'll clean it up by Friday, hopefully."
Jamestown (1-0) will travel to Bismarck High's (1-1) Karlgaard Gymnasium for the first road game of the season. The Demons lost to Mandan 64-53 on Tuesday.
"They're awesome. I went and watched them play," Lloyd said. "They're a fun team to watch and they play with a lot of intensity. They've got players that can make plays at the rim and they can shoot it from outside.
"They're going to be a hard team for us to cover because they match up pretty well to us."
Jamestown 83, Bismarck St. Mary's 49
SM 21 28 -- 49
JHS 42 41 -- 83
SM—Points: Jaxson Wiseman 13, Ben Schmidt 10, Isaac Armstrong 9, Drew Dosch 9, Lucas Haakenson 2, Jackson Uhler 2, Holten Bradley 2, Zach Haas 2. 20-53 FGs, 3-8 3-pointers, 6-10 FTs, 40 Rebounds, 24 Fouls (Dosch 4, Bradley 4), 10 Assists, 15 Turnovers, 3 Steals.
JHS—Points: Boden Skunberg 26, Mason Walters 23, Jared Kallenbach 5, Keith Levin 4, Dawson Douty 3, Ryder Lunzman 3, Noah Wegenast 3, Carson Kidd 2, Tyler Burnham 2, Carter Moser 2. 29-68 FGs, 4-15 3-pointers, 21-33 FTs, 53 Rebounds (Skunberg 9), 16 Fouls (Levin 4), 16 Assists (Kallenbach 4, Skunberg 4), 8 Turnovers, 8 Steals (Skunberg 4).
Records: Jamestown 1-0. Bismarck St. Mary's 0-2.