Williston High School boys basketball coach Daved Lundeen was determined to limit second-ranked Jamestown's star duo of Mason Walters and Boden Skunberg on Friday at Jerry Meyer Arena.
Lundeen's strategy was two minutes away from it working.
The Blue Jays' Jared Kallenbach broke a 65-all tie for good after hitting 1 of 2 free throws as Jamestown hung on to defeat one-win Williston 82-77 in West Region action.
"We had a game plan we were pretty happy with and the guys couldn't have executed it better," Lundeen said. "We played so hard for being so undersized. Rebounding was a concern and we fought like crazy. I was super proud of them."
Lundeen's strategy was to double team Skunberg and Walters just as they touched the ball, which forced the Blue Jays to pass off to another supporting player.
The Coyotes took a 44-40 lead into the break as Walters led with 12 hard-fought points. Skunberg had 4.
Jamestown shot 45 percent from the field, while Williston shot 53 percent in the first half.
"We missed wide-open shots all night with them doubling Mason and Boden every time they touched the ball," said Blue Jay coach Jacoby Lloyd. "As a shooter you have to love that. We just have to get more confidence and reps from the 3-point line."
The contest continued to go back-and-forth between the two teams in the second frame, but Jamestown's size and pace became too much for the struggling Coyotes.
"We've had three games this year where we haven't followed the scout in the first half," Lloyd said. "In the second half, we started to follow it a lot better. We have a talented group of players that need to come together as a team."
Besides Skunberg and Walters, the Blue Jays combined for 49 points and shot 16 of 44 (36 percent) from the field. Kallenbach pitched in with 16 points and Dawson Douty, a recent University of Jamestown baseball commit, scored 13.
"Jared played a heck of a game, Carson Lamp (7 points) came in down the stretch and did some nice things," Lloyd said. "Dawson made enough 3s to carry us tonight and came out with an attitude that was fun to watch."
With Jamestown narrowly defeating a Williston team that has yet to beat a North Dakota team, including being outscored by a 100-point differential prior to Friday, the Blue Jays' No. 2 rank could be up in the air. Lundeen said he still thinks Jamestown is the best team in the state.
"This is the closest game they've had all year. They've just been blowing people out," Lundeen said. "I only watched film of (top-ranked) Fargo Davies once and they're a really good team, too."
Jamestown will host Dickinson (2-5) in its first back-to-back game of the year at 7:45 p.m. The Coyotes defeated the Midgets 78-69 back on Dec. 18.
"We have a target on our back and our guys are learning how to react to that," Lloyd said. "We turn around and play again right away. That's the nicest thing to the meat of the schedule now.
"We have 14 games left and one game doesn't make our break a season."
Jamestown 82, Williston 77
WHS 44 33 -- 77
JHS 40 42 -- 82
WHS-Jorn Everson 29, Reed Hanson 13, Wil Olson 9, Sam Kortan 9, Brade Aberle 8, Leif Larson 6, Apollo Beck 3. Team stats: 27-53 FGs, 13-25 3-pointers, 10-11 FTs, 26 Rebounds, 19 Fouls, 15 assists, 14 turnovers, 3 Steals.
JHS-Mason Walters 24, Jared Kallenbach 16, Dawson Douty 13, Boden Skunberg 9, Carson Lamp 7, Carter Moser 4, Jacob Hilgemann 4, Noah Wegenast 3, Ryder Lunzman 2. Team stats: 31-69 FGs, 6-25 3-pointers, 14-18 FTs, 40 Rebounds (Walters 10), 11 Fouls, 20 Assists (Lunzman 8), 7 Turnovers, 3 Blocks, 8 Steals.
Records: Jamestown 7-0. Williston 1-8.