Getting closer: Blue Jays give Demons a fight Thursday
The Jamestown High School boys basketball team hosted Bismarck High on Feb. 3.
JAMESTOWN — Three games in three days is a tall task but the Jamestown High School boys' basketball team is ready and has nothing to lose.
"It's going to be awesome," JHS boys basketball coach Jacoby Lloyd said.
Due to inclement weather postponing previous matchups, the Jays have games scheduled on Feb. 3, 4 and 5. Jamestown's first test came against No. 3 ranked Bismarck High on Thursday evening.
The Demons topped the Jays 75-62 to improve to 12-3 while the Jays dropped down to 4-8. Jamestown is set up for a 3-hour bus ride to Minot Friday afternoon and will finish the weekend out with a trip north to Turtle Mountain.
Minot is currently leading the WDA at 12-1. Turtle Mountain is just 3-10 but the Braves took the Magicians to overtime Thursday evening, just missing the upset 74-70.
It wasn't a great start for the Blue Jays Thursday night with the team's 6-5 lead soon turning in the Demons favor. Bismarck led 10-8 early in the first half.
Treysen Eaglestaff, the 6-foot-6 senior, took complete control of the boards, scoring 17 of the Demons' 36 first-half points.
"We tried to put our most athletic, disciplined defenders on him and throw bodies his way that he doesn't get those easy looks," Lloyd said of the Jays' game plan against Eaglestaff. "He's going to get his points but you want him to be as inefficient as possible.
"We did a good job of that in spurts."
Eaglestaff ended his night right at his average 30 points, drilling four 3s in the first half and knocking down four from 2-point range in the second frame. The Jays did hold the all-star senior to 3-for-8 at the charity stripe.
While the Jays did their best to contain Eaglestaff, they just couldn't compete against such a deep Demon bench. BHS rotated in 15 bodies across the opening 18 minutes. In comparison, in total, the Jays have 14 players on the varsity roster.
BHS was clearly in control early on with Cole Jahner, George Gillette and Kyler Scott contributing a combined pitched in 13 points, but Luke Van Berkom did manage to fight through traffic to record seven total points and five rebounds at the basket. '
Caydann Cox matched Van Berkom's seven points, two of which gave the Jays a boost of momentum heading into the break, poking away the ball to drop in a key layup that cut the Demons' lead to 14 points.
BHS led 36-22 at halftime.
"He is such a coachable kid and does exactly what you ask him to do and it's easy to live with him when he makes great plays, it's easy to live with him when he misses a play because he's just so nice and works so hard and is so coachable," Lloyd said of Cox.
"It's refreshing to be around someone who has a 'whatever you need me to do coach' mentality. He does things for our team from an athletic standpoint that we desperately needed."
Cox wound up the Jays' leading scorer with 12 points while Noah Meissner came alive in the second half scoring all 11 of his points in frame No. 2. Van Berkom, Devin Beach and Adam Kallenbach all pitched in nine points.
Eaglestaff notched off seven more points to help keep the Demons ahead by 16 but the Jays strung together seven points of total team effort to cut the Demons' lead to 10 points. The effort rattled the Demons' composure which translated to more looks for the Jays.
"Defensively in the second half, we just played with a lot more energy and actually brought the fight to them rather than sitting back and being controlled," Lloyd said.
"We started to force them to do some of the things they were making us do like throwing the ball away or throwing the ball to someone who wasn't ready to shoot."
Lloyd said the Jays also played in more transition in the second half because the Jays picked up the speed at which they were playing — something that must happen if they are planning to have any luck against Minot.
Game No. 2 of the weekend is slated to tip-off at 7:30 p.m.
"It's a good way to simulate the WDA tournament," Lloyd said of the Jays' packed weekend schedule. "This game at Minot, against the No. 1 team in the state, would be like the loser-out game of the WDA tournament and that's how we have to try and play it.
"It's going to be a lot of fun."
Bismarck High 75, Jamestown 62
BHS 36 39 — 75
JHS 22 40 — 62
BHS — Treysen Eaglestaff 30, Kyler Scott 14, George Gillette 12, Cole Jahner 8, Ethan Stotz 6, Carter Heuke 3, Preston Lemar 2. Totals: 28 FG, 9-18 FT, 19 fouls. 3-pointers: Eaglestaff 5, Gillette 3, Heuke 1.
JHS — Caydann Cox 12, Noah Meissner 11, Devin Beach 9, Luke Van Berkom 9, Adam Kallenbach 9, Mason Lunzman 6, Dalton Lamp 3, Ryan Larson 3. Totals: 24 FG, 9-20 FT, 17 fouls. 3-pointers: Meissner 2, Cox 2, Kallenbach 1.