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JHS girls look to continue success

No more flying under the radar for the Jamestown High School girls basketball team. The Blue Jays came away with a 78-66 victory at Bismarck High on Tuesday night for their first win of the season. In their other game--a five-point loss to West R...

No more flying under the radar for the Jamestown High School girls basketball team. The Blue Jays came away with a 78-66 victory at Bismarck High on Tuesday night for their first win of the season. In their other game-a five-point loss to West Region leader Bismarck Legacy (2-0)- the Jays led most of the way before succumbing late. "I definitely think we can compete with any team," said senior Taylor Schmeichel, who poured in 21 points including a 4-of-8 performance from beyond the arc against Bismarck. "We need to work together and push each other." Jamestown plays its home opener against Bismarck St. Mary's (0-1) at 5:45 p.m., today at Jerry Meyer Arena. The boys game will follow. The girls are coming off an impressive 36-of-40 effort (90 percent) from the free-throw line, which Schmeichel said she was unaware of during the game. "We had no idea," she said. "We just played our game, and coach told us at the end. I was just really surprised and happy that we had such a good percentage. It's never really happened before." Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg called the free throws "a saving grace" when looking at some of the other numbers. Bismarck won the shooting percentage and rebounding battles. "There are definitely a lot of things we need to correct," Skunberg said. "We can't rely on 36 points from the line every game." Junior forward Bailey Lamp has had a strong start to the season. She scored 19 against Legacy and added 18 vs. Bismarck. "Bailey knows how to score, and her being left-handed definitely helps her as most people aren't used to (defending) that," Skunberg said. "She's versatile inside and outside." Skunberg said tonight's focus will again be about rebounding against a tall St. Mary's team, but also getting back on defense will be important. The Saints opened with a 20-point loss at Minot. "We've just got to do a better job of boxing out to negate their height," Skunberg said. "St. Mary's likes to get up and down the court, and sometimes we struggle getting back on defense. It'll definitely be a tough game for us." On the boys side, coach Luke Anderson said there hasn't been many bright spots in the team's 0-2 start. Jamestown has high expectations, even being picked third in the preseason West Region poll. But it hasn't materialized, as the Blue Jays dropped their season opener at Bismarck Legacy 61-60 and then fell 72-51 at Bismarck High on Tuesday. "At times, we've shown glimpses of who we can be," Anderson said. "But they have not been happy with the start nor have I." Anderson reiterated the team's goals in practice this week, asking them to remember the journey they embarked on last season. Jamestown caught fire at the end of the season, punching its ticket to state and finishing sixth, despite having a losing record. "It's not about how you start-it's about how you finish," Anderson said. "There are generally only two, sometimes three teams in the West Region that put together really dominant records like 17-3 and 16-4. That's tough to do for anybody. Everyone else is around the .500 mark (or lower)." One of the few bright spots has been the play of senior guard Tanner Lunzman, who scored 11 points in the opener before dropping 23 on Bismarck. "He's been really aggressive," Anderson said. "He's really helped carry us, especially in that Bismarck game." Anderson called Wednesday's practice the best of the season and to fix the problems, two things have to be corrected. "Lack of transition ... and we haven't defended well," Anderson said. "We need to have a better effort on the defensive side of the ball. ... We have not pushed the ball at all. (Graduated guard) Nick Fuchs pushed us hard all the time last year. Who's gonna do that this year? We're good when we're playing fast. When we slow down, we limit out how effective we can be." Anderson said he'll "take the heat for the first couple" losses, as he said his emphasis hasn't been placed correctly. He hopes to get back to the team's run-and-gun style against the Saints, who lost their season opener 91-47 at No. 1-ranked Minot. "I've probably spent more time focusing on specific things rather than us just getting up and down the floor and attacking people," Anderson said. "We want to get back to that team. That's who we are."

Related Topics: JAYSBASKETBALL
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