Blue Jays best Bismarck on New Year's Eve

An Anthonett Nabwe putback in the final seconds carries Jamestown girls basketball past visiting Demons.

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Jamestown's Anthonett Nabwe (14) skirts around Mandie Picard of Bismarck Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Jamestown High School's Anthonett Nabwe matched instinct with her superior athletic ability Thursday afternoon at Jerry Meyer Arena.

The junior positioned herself perfectly on the left block in the closing seconds against visiting Bismarck, corralled the game-winning offensive rebound by splashing in the easy putback, and the Blue Jays knocked off the Demons 78-77 in a Class A West Region thriller.

"I need to do my best every time for my team because everyone works together," said Nabwe, who finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. "We lost our last game so we tried hard to win this one because we want to be one of the top teams."

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Jamestown's Anthonett Nabwe (14) skirts around Mandie Picard of Bismarck Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun


Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg said Nabwe's raw ability has always been noticeable, and it's obvious the 5-foot-9 forward's basketball IQ is gaining plenty of steam.

Following Peyton Neumiller's sixth steal for Bismarck that went back for an easy two points and gave Bismarck a 77-76 lead with less than a minute remaining, Jamestown's Jordan Finck let fly a 3-pointer from the right side as the game clock wound down to less than five seconds. The shot carried over the rim and caromed off the glass directly into the waiting hands of Nabwe, who leads the team in rebounding with around 10 per night.

Nabwe dropped in the go-ahead bucket with one second and change to spare. The lead change was the fourth of the half and the third in the final 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Jamestown had led by as many as 10 points in the second half.

"She got where she needed to be and she got us two points when we needed it at the end," Skunberg said. "She's got a lot of potential, and when she kinda shows it she's a very fun player to watch and very tough to guard."

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Jamestown's Grace Hegerle (22) gets a jumpshot for two over a Bismarck defender Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The performance was complementary to Grace Hegerle's 21 points and Ella Falk's 12 second-half markers for 18 total points and a game-high 12 rebounds. After sitting out Tuesday's 68-65 loss to Minot with a sprained left ankle, Hegerle's offense in the first half allowed the Blue Jays to play loose early, easing the obvious tension that was visible without their top scorer two days prior.

A 15-5 Jamestown run to start was fueled by eight of Hegerle's 21. She buried a 3-pointer and scored 11 in a first half won by Jamestown 40-32.


"I woke up this morning thinking I was not gonna play, actually," said Hegerle, who stepped on a teammate's foot while attempting a layup in practice Monday. "I just didn't know how it would feel, but I think throughout the game I got more adrenaline and then it felt better."

Bismarck relentlessly defended the entire court for 36 minutes, flustering the Jays at times and forcing well over 20 turnovers. But a Demons' team shooting 38% from 3-point range entering the day made good on only 8 of 37 attempts (22%) from beyond the arc.

The Blue Jays also easily won the rebounding battle, 49-33.

"That constant pressure like that is tough," Skunberg said. "They make you have to take care of the ball and they control the tempo a lot. But in the end, we did what it takes to get a win. It was a great team effort."

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Jamestown's Jordan Finck (5) takes a leap to the basket while getting fouled by Miyah Holzworth of Bismarck Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Within striking distance for most of the second half, the shots finally started to fall for Bismarck. Back-to-back 3-pointers by senior Mandie Picard flipped a 61-59 Jamestown lead to 65-61 with 6:30 remaining. Picard finished with a game-high 24 points.

But a Hegerle bucket and a steal and score by Nabwe drew the Jays even at 72-72 with less than three minutes to play, setting up the wild one-point finish.


"We're feeling great," Nabwe said. "It's awesome to get a win."

The Jays improved to 2-2 heading into Saturday's road trip at top-ranked Bismarck Century (3-0).

"We had a lot of turnovers this game, but with a press like that it's kinda hard not to," Hegerle said. "So I think we're just trying to take this win as more of a confidence booster for a big game coming up. Bismarck High is a really good team, so it's a good win."

The Blue Jays have lost 16 straight to Bismarck Century, last defeating the Patriots -- also ranked No. 1 at the time -- in Jamestown 47-46 on Feb. 19, 2013. Current Jamestown girls basketball assistant coach McKayla Orr contributed three points and seven rebounds in the win as a junior point guard.

"We've got some tired legs playing two games in three days," Skunberg said. "We can enjoy this one for about a half-hour and then we gotta worry about the Patriots."


Jamestown 78, Bismarck 77

BIS 32 45 -- 77


JAM 40 38 -- 78

BIS -- Mandie Picard 24, Jilee Golus 15, Peyton Neumiller 13, Miyah Holzworth 7, Sydney Gerving 6, Payton Gerving 3, Paige Breuer 3, Ail Gulleson 2, Tiereney Monroe 2, Halle Wetsch 2. Totals: 31-77 FG, 8-37 3-pointers (Golus 3, Neumiller 2, Picard 2, Breuer), 7-10 FT, 33 Rebounds (P. Gerving 7, Picard 5, TEAM 4, Gulleson 4, Neumiller 4), 22 Steals (Neumiller 6, Holzworth 6, Picard 4), 14 Fouls, 17 Turnovers.

JAM -- Grace Hegerle 21, Anthonett Nabwe 18, Ella Falk 18, Jordan Finck 6, Katie Trumbauer 4, Breanna Oettle 4, Hunter Petersen 3, Karlie Remmick 2, Katie Falk 2. Totals: 31-63 FG, 6-17 3-pointers (E. Falk 3, Hegerle, Finck, Oettle), 10-16 FT, 49 Rebounds (E. Falk 12, Nabwe 10, TEAM 7, Finck 6, K. Falk 4, Petersen 4), 13 Steals (E. Falk 4, Nabwe 4, Hegerle 3), 14 Fouls, 29 Turnovers, 3 Blocks (Hegerle 2, Nabwe), 23 Assists (K. Falk 6, E. Falk 5).

Records: Jamestown 2-2, (RV) Bismarck 3-2.

Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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