In 2013 Grace Hegerle, Kaylee Panchot and Jordan Finck were in fourth grade playing basketball for fun.
Eight years later, it's still fun and it has been all season long.
"There were two groups of us," Hegerle remembered. "I think all three of us were in the same group -- kind of the group that was formed for fun. We're just the ones who stuck with it."
The three seniors were honored Friday night before the Jays' last regular-season home game tipped off.
"I've had them for four years now and a couple of them I had teaching fifth grade so I got to see these girls grow up for the last five, six, seven years," JHS head coach Andy Skunberg said. "They worked hard all summer, they are good teammates and you hate to see them go, but I wish them well in their future endeavors."
The seniors aren't going anywhere quite yet, except potentially the 2021 Class A girls basketball state tournament. A trip to state got one step closer with the dominant performance at Jerry Meyer.
After the presentation of the seniors was complete, the trio went to work rolling over Williston 71-29. The Jays improved to 13-7 in the West Region standings while Williston dropped their 19th consecutive game. The Jays are in a tight race with Bismarck High and Mandan for the No. 4 seed heading into the WDA tournament.
The fourth seed will host a WDA quarterfinal game on Mar. 2.
The Blue Jays will head to Watford City tomorrow (Saturday), the West's No. 3 team. The game is slated to tip-off at 1:30 p.m. with the Blue Jay boys to follow at 3 p.m. The game will be the Jays' last regular-season game. If the Jays win the tilt, or if Legacy beats Bismarck High, the Jays will secure the No. 4 seed.
Hegerle, Finck and Panchot all started for the Jays Tuesday, helping put together a 42-11 first half. A 10-0 run late in the first made it 38-7 Blue Jays and it looked like the Coyotes would stay in single digits until the officials called a foul on Katie Falk. The call came after Williston drained a two-point bucket with six seconds left in the first frame.
Annie Nabwe did her fair share helping out the seniors. The 5-foot-9 junior racked up all 12 of her points in the first half and produced 10 total rebounds. While Nabwe has run into foul trouble in previous games, the Jays had no issues against the Coyotes and instead egged her aggressive style of play on.
"She played pretty well," Skunberg said. "She's come a long way even from the start of this year to the end. All that game experience she's been playing both on JV and varsity is definitely helping her and she's getting smarter about things -- knowing when to take chances and when not to -- and it's good to see that. She's one that we'll definitely need coming into WDAs."
The 31-point lead at the half allowed the Jays some breathing room in the second, but the Jays continued to pressure the Coyotes building the lead to as many as 42. Shelby Meyer tried to give the Coyotes a break but the junior's 14 points didn't get much going for the visitors against the home team.
"We started out a little flat but we picked it up and we did what we needed to do," Skunberg said. "We've got to get ready for tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll be ready to go and play like it's a WDA tournament game."
Blue Jays 77, Coyotes 43
The blue birds were feeling it from distance Friday night in Williston.
The Jamestown High School boys basketball team converted 14 3-pointers in a 77-43 victory over the Coyotes. The Jays' Carson Lamp and Brooks Carroll each drained a trio from beyond the arc, with Adam Kallenbach, Shea Caroll, Devin Beach and Jacob Hilgemann all splashing in a pair of triples.
Junior forward Luke Van Berkom tied Williston's Malaki Sik for a game-high 14 points. Jamestown led by 17 at the half and pulled away after the break.
The Jays improved to 13-5 and remain out west Saturday facing the Wolves (0-18) in Watford City at 3 p.m.
Jamestown 71, Williston 29
WIL 11 18 -- 29
JHS 42 29 -- 71
WIL -- Shelby Meyer 14, Chesni Strand 9, Mariska Amoo-Gottfried 4, Michelle Apolis 2. Totals: 11 FG, 4-8 FT, 14 fouls. 3-pointers: Meyer 2, Strand 1.
JHS -- Katie Falk 14, Anthonett Nabwe 12, Grace Hegerle 11, Ella Falk 10, Haylie Hakanson 7, Kaylee Panchot 6, Hunter Petersen 6, Breanna Oettle 2, Jordan Finck 2, Rylee Joseph 1. Totals: 29 FG, 12-19 FT, 10 fouls. 3-pointers: E. Falk 1.
Records: Jamestown 13-6, Williston 0-19
(RV) Jamestown 77, Williston 43
JHS 41 36 -- 77
WHS 24 19 -- 43
JHS -- Luke Van Berkom 14, Carson Lamp 11, Devin Beach 10, Brooks Carroll 9, Shea Carroll 8, Jacob Hilgemann 8, Matt Anderson 7, Adam Kallenbach 6, Kade Schumacher 4. Totals: 30 FG, 3-6 FT, 11 fouls. 3-pointers: Lamp 3, B. Carroll 3, Kallenbach 2, Shea Carroll 2, Beach 2, Hilgemann 2.
WHS -- Malaki Sik 14, Jayden Williams 7, Austin Baumer 2, Kadin Finders 9, Jacob Wilt 5, Ethan Moe 2, Edens Dumervil 5. 16 FG, 3-8 FT, 10 fouls. 3-pointers: Sik 3, Finders 3, Williams, Wilt.
Records: Jamestown 13-5, Williston 1-18.