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JHS girls slated for Friday play-in game

Jamestown's Courtney Peterson (14) drives the ball inside against Sydney Gustavsson of Mandan Tuesday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

A West Region girls basketball playoff game is in Jamestown High School's future.

Mandan handed Jamestown its fourth straight loss—74-53—Tuesday night at Jerry Meyer Arena, giving the Blue Jays the sixth seed in the conference. Jamestown (11-10) will play No. 11 Turtle Mountain (1-21) Friday at Harold Newman Arena in a play-in game at 7 p.m.

"It has its advantages and disadvantages," said Blue Jay coach Andy Skunberg. "Obviously if you lose, you're done. But it gives us a chance to work on other things, instead of just practicing for a week and a half.

"We have to get ready to go, it doesn't matter who they're playing."

With a Watford City joining the WDA this season, it has upped the play-in games from two contests to three. No. 7 Williston (10-11) plays No. 10 Minot (4-17) and No. 8 Dickinson (6-15) faces off with No. 9 Watford City (6-15).

Jamestown last competed in a play-in game back in 2015.

"You still have to play the game and you can't take any team for granted or lightly," Skunberg said. "We have to be ready to play and if we don't, we're not going to make it the regionals."

The Blue Jays have lost five of their last six games, dating back to Feb. 5. Jamestown has suffered losses to Bismarck High (75-54), Bismarck Legacy (66-59), Williston (69-51) and Watford City (66-58) during the stretch. A Kameron Selvig 3-pointer on the road against Minot salvaged a 48-46 victory during the stretch.

"It's a combination of a bunch of things. Defensive breakdowns, other teams getting shots—like tonight in the second half," Skunberg said. "Our defensive execution struggles a little bit, we have some lapses on offense, turn the ball over and shoot some tough shots."

Jamestown took a 31-all tie into the intermission, but that's the closest the Blue Jays would get soon after. Three straight 3-pointers by Lauren Gangl, Janie Berger and Kennedy Harris put the Braves out front 43-34. The Blue Jays clawed back to within 4 points—54-50—but only scored three points for the remainder of the contest.

"Tonight in the first half, we had looks again of a team that can contend," Skunberg said. "We just need 36 minutes of that not 18 or 20 minutes."

Senior Courtney Peterson led with a team-high 15 points in the loss. The 5-foot-10 guard also scored a team-high 28 in the loss to Watford City on Feb. 16.

"She's stepping up as a senior, trying to take control a little bit and being aggressive offensively and defensively," Skunberg said. "Teams are playing her tight and it helps drive up shooting lanes for others. We need 2-3 girls to start getting hot down the stretch."

Jamestown defeated Turtle Mountain 75-62 on the road and 65-49 at Jerry Meyer Arena this winter. The Braves took 58 combined triples in the contests and hit 14 of them.

"We have to be able to defend. They like to run and gun, and shoot a lot of threes," Skunberg said. "We have to get a hand in their face and rebound. Offensively we have to take care of the ball and get open shots. We just have to finish."

Mandan 74, Jamestown 53

MHS 31 43 -- 74

JHS 31 22 -- 53

MHS—Kennedy Harris 17, Megan Zander 15, Lakyn Darras 20, Lauren Gangl 8, Janie Berger 6, Taylor Leingan 3, Sydney Gustavsson 3, Piper Harris 2. Totals: 26-55 FG, 15-31 3-pointers (Harris 3, Zander 3, Darras 3), 7-10 FT, 38 Rebounds (Zander 13), 15 Fouls (Gangl 4), 25 Assists, 16 Turnovers, 1 Block, 6 Steals.

JHS—Kameron Selvig 11, Jessa Anderson 4, Courtney Peterson 15, Katherine Horgan 5, Grace Hegerle 8, Ella Falk 6, Jessica Walter 4. Totals: 20-55 FG, 3-13 3-pointers, 10-12 FT, 29 Rebounds (Peterson 11), 7 Fouls, 18 Assists, 12 Turnovers, 3 Blocks, 12 Steals.

Records: Jamestown 11-10. Mandan 19-2.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853