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'Pretty exciting': Blue Jays start hoops season at 1-0 in WDA

The Jamestown High School boys basketball team was in action on Dec. 6, 2022.

jhs boys hoops lunzman vs smchs 3 120622.jpg
Jamestown's Mason Lunzman is on the move with the ball along side Sam Fedorchak of Bismarck St. Mary's on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Jerry Meyer Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — The cheers inside Jerry Meyer Arena kind of took Mason Lunzman by surprise Tuesday evening.

Up 25-24 over Bismarck St. Mary's, Lunzman, a senior for the Jamestown High School basketball team, shot and made the first 3-pointer of his final prep basketball season.

"It was pretty exciting," Lunzman said of the response to his shot. "Last year, we didn't have this big of a turnout so I wasn't expecting this many people to be here but it was really fun."

Lunzman and his hot hand helped guide the Jays to a 78-66 win over the Saints. The W puts the Jays at 1-0 in the Western Dakota Association. Jamestown will be back in action on Dec. 13 hosting Bismarck Legacy. The doubleheader is scheduled to start with the JHS girls' game at 5:45 p.m. The boys game will follow at approximately 7:45 p.m.

"It feels great," Lunzman said of getting a win Tuesday. "We had a lot of energy and we'll continue to build more energy off of that and hopefully get more wins and have more fun. I am just trying to bring a lot of energy and I want to help the team come together more and have more teamwork amongst our group. I just want to keep it all going."

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With the help of four different scorers, the Blue Jays jumped out to an early 12-2 lead and while it appeared that the Jays were in control early, the Saints didn't go away.

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Maddox Doppler single-handedly cut the Jays' seven-point lead to four making it 13-9 Blue Jays. Senior Payton Hochhalter churned out three more to put the Jays up 16-9 but Jacob Goettle produced five of the Saints' next eight points to put them within one of the game leaders. St. Mary's took its first lead of the night when Connor Schatz dropped one in to make it 24-22 Saints with 4:55 remaining in the half.

"It's good to start the year at 1-0 in conference," JHS head coach Jacoby Lloyd said. "That's a hard thing to do especially against a team that plays as hard as (St. Mary's) does. Our effort and attitude are what we can build on. We'll continue to get better throughout the entire season."

Ryan Larson knotted things back up at 24 and then with 4:42 left in the opening half, Hochhalter gave his team back the lead with a free shot that made it 25-24. With the help of Lunzman's 3-pointer and some putbacks from Larson, the Jays were able to ride their lead all the way to the break. Jamestown ended the first half up 39-32.

Once the break was over, Dalton Lamp wasted no time adding to his point totals.

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Sam Fedorchak (3) of St. Mary's applies some pressure to Jamestown's Dalton Lamp on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Jerry Meyer Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

The 6-foot junior was responsible for scoring the Jays' first nine points of the second half. Lamp led the Jays in total scoring with 24 points while Hochhalter tacked on another 21. Lunzman was the team's 3-point leader with 12 of his 15 points coming from behind the arc.

"Mason Lunzman started the entire season for us last year," Lloyd said. "This year, he's bought into being a utility player or our chess piece that can come in and fill in for everybody. When he came in the first half we were kind of up and down, he came in and hit some shots for us that kind of eased our nerves.
"That's just who he is," he said. "He's a multi-sport, varsity athlete who is cool and calm under pressure. He doesn't overthink the situation. He makes the game easy for himself and he gives you 100 percent of his effort."

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Lloyd said he was also impressed at his other two seniors — Hochhalter and Caydann Cox — for how they communicated out on the court and how they owned mistakes.

"You can't say enough about what they did tonight," Lloyd said of the team's senior leadership.

While Lloyd said he is greatly impressed by his team's coachability and attitudes, he added there's still a lot of work to be done in the mental part of the game.

The head coach said the Jays made some mental mistakes that can be rectified with better passing, better cutting and a better IQ of other players out on the court. Lloyd said the Jays overthought and overdribbled on some offensive plays but added that as the coaching staff gets more familiar with each athlete's strengths and weaknesses and as the athletes get used to the pace of a varsity basketball game again, mistakes and mental lapses will likely be reduced.

"Once we started sharing the ball and creating space for each other, it was kind of what I expected," Lloyd said. "We've got six or seven kids who can really play and they all can do a little bit of everything. They were very receptive to coaching and their attitudes toward each other were very, very good. They know what our formula for success has to be ... and they will only get better from here."

Jamestown 78, St. Mary's 66

SM 32 34 — 66

JHS 39 39 — 78

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SM — Maddox Doppler 15, Christian Benning 13, Jacob Goettle 12, Ben Zenker 9, Sam Fedorchak 9, Nate Roemmich 3, Caden Willer 3, Connor Schatz 2. Totals: 24 FG, 11-15 FT, 19 fouls, 3-pointers: Benning 2, Zenker 2, Roemmich 1, Fedorchak 1, Willer 1.

JHS — Dalton Lamp 24, Payton Hochhalter 21, Mason Lunzman 15, Ryan Larson 11, Caydann Cox 4, Noah Meissner 3. Totals: 26 FG, 17-26 FT, 14 fouls, 3-pointers: Lunzman 4, Hochhalter 3, Larson 1, Lamp 1.

jhs boys hoops cox vs smchs 120622.jpg
Jamestown's Caydann Cox goes to the basket while under pressure from a St. Mary's defender Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Jerry Meyer Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Related Topics: PREP SPORTSJAMESTOWN BLUE JAYSJAMESTOWN HIGH SCHOOLBLUE JAYS BASKETBALL
Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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