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TOURNEY PREP: JHS boys simulate postseason play

Jamestown's Noah Wegenast goes to the net with the ball between Watford City defenders, Jessen Homiston and Elijah Brown (1) Friday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The West Region Tournament isn't until the end of February at the Bismarck Event Center, but Jamestown High School boys basketball coach Jacoby Lloyd is already getting his team ready.

The Blue Jays defeated the struggling Watford City Wolves 81-39 Friday night at Jerry Meyer Arena, which would be a typical Game 1 of a three-day tournament at this point. Jamestown will have a much stiffer test against Bismarck Century (6-4) back at home today.

"We're approaching this like a WDA or state tournament where you want play that first-round game hard and get a lead to rest your starters," Lloyd said. "It's not always the case, but day 2 is where you have the opportunity to make it to state and go to places you want to go to."

Jamestown had up-and-down success at tournaments last season with a similar squad.

The Blue Jays made a shocking run at the WDA tournament in Bismarck, before being upended by Century in the finals. Jamestown looked much different at the Class A state tournament as it lost to West Fargo in overtime, before being upset by Bismarck St. Mary's in the loser-out game.

If Friday night was a potential first-round matchup later down the road, the Blue Jays kicked it off with a much better start. Jamestown used a 41-7 run spanning through a first-half buzzer issue inside the arena and halftime to make an eight-point lead turn into a 66-24 lead with just under 13 minutes remaining in the second half. Watford City's Jessen Homiston scored five straight points to help spark an 8-2 run with 12:58 remaining.

"It's important to take care of business and do what's expected of you to do," Lloyd said. "To come out and play well defensively, like I thought we did, was great. We need to shore up some things on the defensive rebounding standpoint of having five guys dedicated to getting that rebound.

"Watford City has some nice guards that play hard, their whole team plays hard, and they obviously had a good game plan that they focused on. We had a lot of size and mismatches inside that we took advantage on."

Jamestown's main six of Dawson Douty, Mason Walters, Boden Skunberg, Jared Kallenbach, Mason Walters and Carter Moser only played an average of 18 minutes. That gave role players like Jacob Hilgemann (11) and Carson Lamp (14) plenty of time on the floor. Overall, 15 Blue Jay players checked into Friday night's game.

Walters and Skunberg were the only two in double figures with 24 and 20, respectively. Kallenbach was next with 7 points, followed by Hilgemann (7) and Lamp (6).

"It was nice to see some guys that haven't been shooting well knock down some shots," Lloyd said.

Century won the 2017-18 Class A state boys title last winter. Senior Treyton Mattern leads the Patriots with 23.2 points per game, while Stevie Kraljic is next with 9.6. Cade Feeney scored 14 points in his season debut against Bismarck St. Mary's after recovering from a football season injury.

"With Century you have to take care of the defensive end and box out on every single one of their contested shots," Lloyd said. "They just got Cade Feeney back and he's rounding into shape. He's a difference-maker on both ends of the court and a special athlete."

Jamestown 81, Watford City 39

WC 22 17 -- 39

JHS 48 33 -- 81

WC—Brock Haugeberg 9, Jessen Homiston 7, Riley Headings 6, LaVores Monroe 5, Jayvn McGorman 4, Britton Cranston 3, Reese Johnson 3. Totals: 15-52 FG, 6-18 3-pointers, 3-6 FT, 32 Rebounds, 18 Fouls, 4 Assists, 20 Turnovers, 6 Steals.

JHS—Mason Walters 24, Boden Skunberg 20, Jared Kallenbach 7, Jacob Hilgemann 7, Carson Lamp 6, Bryan Mitchell 3, Ryder Lunzman 3, Carter Moser 3, Noah Wegenast 2, Tyler Burnham 2, Keith Levin 2. Totals: 30-66 FG, 5-13 3-pointers, 16-21 FT, 45 Rebounds (Walters 16), 16 Fouls, 18 Assists, 10 Turnovers, 4 Blocks, 11 Steals.

Records: (2) Jamestown 10-0. Watford City 1-9.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853