Jacoby Lloyd and Jordan Pintar know more about each other than just what to expect from each other's basketball programs.
"Coach Lloyd and I go all the way back to high school," Pintar, the head coach for the Bismarck High School boys basketball team said. "We were good friends in high school, graduated from Bismarck High together, we were college roommates -- so the rivalry goes back a long way."
"There's a lot of respect there between programs. He does a great job with his guys so we knew that we would have to battle tonight."
Pintar was the one who came out on top of the rivalry Thursday night.
The third-seeded Demons knocked off Jamestown 79-70 to advance to their second-straight WDA title game. The Demons will face top-seeded Minot in Saturday's championship game at 8 p.m. at the Bismarck Events Center.
The Jays are slated to face Mandan at 6:15 p.m. Saturday to determine if they will make it to their third-straight state tournament.
"We'll regroup and we'll come back on Saturday and we'll be fine," Lloyd said. "Our guys never gave up and our shots just didn't go in."
Carson Lamp kept taking his shots until the final buzzer.
Lamp took the floor with an injured patella, an injury he suffered the last week of the regular season against Watford City. Since the injury, Lamp has had a couple of quiet games, not even cracking into double-digits. Prior to the injury, Lamp was among the top-scorers in the West Region, averaging more than 20 points per game.
"I feel like a step slower," Lamp said in an interview following the Blue Jays' 67-61 defeat of Bismarck St. Mary's. "I just don't trust it as much, so I am not as confident in taking a cut or something. It doesn't hurt - too bad. It doesn't ever really bother me."
Thursday the senior didn't look a step behind anyone -- especially in the first half.
Lamp helped steady his team after the Demons built an early 22-13 lead thanks to four 3-pointers from Treysen Eaglestaff. Eaglestaff, a junior for the Demons, turned in a six-bucket, five 3-pointer stat sheet for a total of 29 points.
Lamp quietly cut the lead to seven points with a couple of buckets to make it a 30-23 ballgame. The Jays kept feeding the ball to the inside, where Keith Levin used his 6-foot-8 frame to come within three. Lamp tied the game with a 3-point shot en route to his 18 total points.
"The thing I've known about Carson from day 1 is that he's the most competitive person on the team and he'll fight through whatever it is (because) he wants the team to win," Lloyd said.
"You could see that determination on his face at the end of the game. He was up guarding everybody and he was doing a good job. It was reminiscent of before his injury."
The Jays continued to build on their first lead of the game with a pair of 3s by Ty Monson and buckets from Jacob Hilgemann, Devin Beach and Adam Kallenbach. Lamp iced the half with a couple of free throws. The score stood at 45-33 entering halftime.
Eaglestaff put a stop to the Jays' 17-0 run with another three-pointer that kicked off a 10-4 run. Brooks Carroll added some much-needed fuel to the Blue Jays' fire with a 3-pointer to pull seven ahead of the visitors. The Demons countered with a pair of 3s, a fouled bucket and a foul shot to make it 56-54.
"They came out hot and they stayed hot," Lloyd said. "They made shots and we didn't make shots. I thought they did a nice job of funneling them where they wanted us to go and speeding us up."
While Pintar commended Eaglestaff's shooting, he also made note of Max Tschosik's monster second-half. Tschosik drained four from the field and two from deep to counter his six-point first half. Tschosik also went 1 of 1 from the line.
"I was just preaching sticking to what we do best and that's playing hard, trying to increase possessions and make Jamestown uncomfortable," Pintar said. "In that second half when we went on that run and got back into the game -- he was our engine.
"He's been the guy we've really been pushing and pushing and pushing because we know that he can handle the ball for us down the stretch and I was proud of his effort tonight."
Lloyd said his squad suffered some unforced turnovers with travels and not getting feet set that led to the Demons' 46-point second frame.
"Bismarck High played with more energy in that second half," Lloyd said. "They came out and executed their game plan and we kind of crumbled a little bit, but we'll recover."
And when they do, Pintar knows just who he's dealing with.
"There's no such thing as an easy win," Pintar said. "Jamestown is a fantastic, battle-tested team."
Bismarck 79, Jamestown 70
BHS 33 46 -- 79
JHS 45 25 -- 70
BHS -- Treysen Eaglestaff 29, Max Tschosik 21, Ethan Stotz 13, Gunner Swanson 7, Tarin Walker 4, George Gillette 2, Cade Kivistu 2, Logan Schaubert 1. Totals: 28 FG, 13-19 FT, 19 fouls. 3-pointers: Eaglestaff 5, Tschosik 4, Walker 1,
JHS -- Lamp 18, Keith Levin 10, Brooks Carroll 9, Ty Monson 8, Jacob Hilgemann 7, Shea Carroll 7, Adam Kallenbach 5, Kade Schumacher 3, Devin Beach 3. Totals 25 FG, 13-20 FT, 18 fouls. 3-pointers: Monson 2, B. Carroll 2, Schumacher 1, S. Carroll 1, Lamp 1.