Larson delivers to force double overtime, Blue Jays win it
The Jamestown High School boys basketball team hosted Bismarck High on Jan. 31, 2023.
JAMESTOWN — Jamestown High School boys basketball shooter Ryan Larson has gotten pretty good at predicting when a 3-pointer is going in.
On Tuesday night, with only seconds remaining in the first overtime frame between the Blue Jays and Bismarck High, Larson predicted that he would make his sixth 3-point shot of the night.
Like the ball, Larson was dead on target.
"When it was coming down I knew it was going in," Larson said. "I could see the arc on it and I could just tell."
Larson's shot tied the game at 85 to force double overtime.
The Jays wound up winning the affair, defeating Bismarck 102-96. The last time the Jays beat Bismarck was on Feb. 2, 2021. The hard-fought win moved the Jays to 7-6 in the West Region and 8-6 overall.
Jamestown will be back at its home arena on Saturday with a doubleheader against Turtle Mountain. The boys are slated to tip off at 5:30 p.m.
In the moment, Larson's shot left JHS head coach Jacoby Lloyd as stunned as the rest of Jerry Meyer Arena but in reality, those big-time shots are what Lloyd has come to expect from the junior shooter.
"He's been shooting the ball really, really well," Lloyd said of Larson. "I knew there was a chance as long as it was heading toward the rim. He's a good shooter and he's shooting the ball well right now. Those shots don't typically go in so I think shocked is a good way to describe how I felt when he made it.
"Dalton (Lamp) made a great pass to him out of a double-team where he had that window of opportunity and he took advantage," he said. "He was aggressive, he was looking for the right opportunities."
Larson's shot capped off his team-leading 32 points. Larson scored 19 in the opening half to lead all scorers.
"I was feeling it tonight," Larson said. "My teammates were finding me in open shots and I just kept shooting."
It has been nearly three weeks since the Jays last played at home. Since they won 65-35 against Watford City, the Blue Jays have had three tough opponents on the road. The Jays topped St. Mary's by one point on Jan. 17 then dropped 58-47 to Minot and lost to Dickinson 86-83 in double overtime.
The loss in Dickinson was particularly motivating to Larson on Tuesday.
"I wanted to win very badly," Larson said. "Especially after losing in double overtime last week, it felt good to win this one. I thought everybody wanted it tonight. I could see it on everybody's faces. Everybody was ready to go once we started the game."
The focus seemed to better the Jays' overall level of play as they not only kept up with Bismarck's scoring but took the lead at multiple different points during regulation.
"We have figured out some efficiency," Lloyd said. "We're getting open better — Minot, Mandan and St. Mary's really made us take a hard look at how our offense was functioning. We've grown from those opportunities."
The work the Jays have put into their offense in the last two weeks has resulted in many of the rostered players knocking down shots on every possession.
"Knocking down shots is contagious," Lloyd said. "When Ryan steps up and makes some big shots, then you see Dalton make some shots and you see Payton (Hochhalter) get to the basket and make some shots and make some free throws, then you start to see Noah (Meissner) start to make some shots. The basketball gives life and is a provider in the game."
Meissner and Hochhalter both scored 18 points. Lamp added 13 to the scorebooks while Mason Lunzman put nine up on the board. Caydann Cox and James Horgan were both responsible for six points scored.
"Those are the kinds of games you want to have when you have a young team," Lloyd said. "I thought our seniors stepped up — Caydann (Cox) got a huge steal to force overtime after he'd been sitting for a long time and then just kept on playing. All of our kids kept on playing.
"Credit to Bismarck High — they keep on playing too," he said. "They punched us back when we thought we had a lead. They came back and forced some mistakes."
Jamestown got sucker-punched at the end of regulation when a Bismarck player powered through the Blue Jay defense and threw up a layup that wound up tying the game at 74 points at the end of regulation.
"The first overtime I think I was a little bit shocked because (Bismarck) scored to go to that overtime," Lloyd said. "I gathered myself and went back to work. I've had a lot of overtime games during my career here at Jamestown and as coaches, the best way to look at it is that we are lucky because we get to play four more minutes of basketball."
A 10-4 scoring run by BHS to open up the first overtime forced Jamestown to play from behind for three of the four minutes. Horgan and Cox pulled the Jays within two with a pair of buckets but Bismarck's Carter Henke squared up and made the foul shot to make it 85-82 with less than 15 seconds left.
After Larson had drilled his last three-pointer of the night and forced another four minutes, the Blue Jays' scoring took off.
"Our second overtime tonight, we understood what a good shot was and what a good offensive possession looked like," Lloyd said. "Defensively we had to buckle down a little better and we did that eventually."
Jamestown outscored the Demons 17-11 in the final frame. Four of the Jays' seven scorers scored.
It was a great end to a fantastic game but it was soured for Lloyd and many others present at Jerry Meyer.
"We love the atmosphere here but there were negative comments said towards a Bismarck High basketball player tonight that have no place in our world," Lloyd said. "He played a heckuva basketball game tonight, it was enjoyable to watch him, he was fun to compete against and the rude comments have no place in Jamestown High School.
"My team would rather not have fans if that is the atmosphere that is going to be created," he said. "It's unfortunate that we played such a great game tonight and some fans thought it was funny to say some things that were incredibly inappropriate toward a Bismarck High basketball player. That program is historically a great program and they take a lot of pride in playing basketball games the right way."
No details regarding the specificity of the comments were disclosed.
"I am just really proud of how our kids handled themselves at crucial moments in regulation, overtime and second overtime," Lloyd said. "It was a great game — but those comments have no place in our society or our program."
Jamestown 102, Bismarck 96
BHS 44 30 11 (OT) 11 (2OT) — 96
JHS 40 34 11 (OT) 17 (2OT) — 102
BHS — Andre Austin 32, Carter Henke 20, Preston Lemar 16, Jenner Smude 11, Teysean Eaglestaff 9, Quin Hafner 7, Grant Bieber 1. Totals: 33 FG, 19-32 FT, 24 fouls. 3-pointers: Lemar 3, Smude 3, Austin 2, Eaglestaff 1, Henke 1, Hafner 1.
JHS — Ryan Larson 32, Payton Hochhalter 18, Noah Meissner 18, Dalton Lamp 13, Mason Lunzman 9, James Horgan 6, Caydann Cox 6. Totals: 35 FG, 19-29 FT, 20 fouls. 3-pointers: Larson 6, Meissner 4, Lamp 3.