'So proud': Blue Jays season comes to a close at the state tournament
The Jamestown High School boys basketball team faced Minot in the state consolation semifinals on Mar. 10.
FARGO — The 2023 Jamestown High School boys basketball team was not one to be counted out this season.
"I’m so proud of how we competed and grew the entire season," JHS head coach Jacoby Lloyd said. "This state tournament wasn’t as good as we would’ve liked to play but my guys left everything they had on the floor."
A 69-66 loss to Minot in 2023 Class A State Tournament consolation semifinals ended the Blue Jays' season Friday afternoon. The squad ended the year at 14-13 overall. As a team, the Blue Jays were picked to finish ninth in the West Region but the squad buckled down and won six of their last 10 games to earn a state tournament berth. 2023 marked the first time the Jays had qualified for the state tourney since the 2020 season.
After dropping to Fargo Davies in the state quarterfinals, the Jays were rearing to go against Minot for the fourth time this season.
The Jays kicked off the consolation semifinal with a 10-4 lead over the Magicians. While the Magicians retook the lead on multiple occasions through the opening half, the Blue Jays' defense coupled with strong offensive production from Noah Meissner and Dalton Lamp, made it a 38-31 Blue Jay ball game at the halfway point. Meissner and Lamp both had 10 points at the end of the first 18 minutes of play.
No one let up in the second half — the game literally came down to the last three minutes.
Hochhalter hit a go-ahead three to take a 62-61 lead over the Magicians with 3:10 to go. Meissner kept the Jays' scoring streak alive with a pair of hits at the line to make it 64-61 Blue Jays with 2:30 left on the clock.
Morgan Nygaard put a stop to the Jays' 8-0 run with a 3-pointer to make it 64 all. Minot went on to hit some late free throws to make it 69-66. With less than 10 seconds on the clock, Hochhalter threw up what would be the last shot of his career.
"We just didn’t make enough plays offensively to continue our season," Lloyd said.
A gritty Blue Jay defense held potential Mr. Basketball, Darik Dissette, to just five points, four of which came in the second half, but Minot made up for it in Morgan Nygaard and Aric Winczewski who combined for 41 points.
The Blue Jays ended their year with four of their top scorers in double figures. Payton Hochhalter led the charge, tallying 17 points, 12 of which came from long range. Noah Meissner hit two more 3s en route to his 16 points. Of Dalton Lamp's 12 attempted shots, the junior sunk six including two from deep. Ryan Larson was 4-of-13 from the field, notched two from long range and was 1-for-2 at the stripe to equal out to 11 points.
While he didn't crack double-figures Friday, Mason Lunzman was also a threat on the perimeter, draining two from behind the arc. As a team, the Jays produced 12 3-pointers compared to nine made by Minot.
Caydann Cox rounded out the Jays' total scoring with two points.
Hochhalter ended his career playing a whopping 35 minutes out of the 36-minute game. The senior was one rebound away from notching his second double-double of the tournament. He also made two of the team's seven blocks.
Meissner got three steals while Cox and Lunzman each had two. The Blue Jays will lose Hochhalter, Lunzman and Cox to graduation.
"My seniors truly led us the entire year and helped the underclassmen grow as leaders," Lloyd said. "This entire group continued the tradition and standard of excellence that has been established since the 2017-18 group."
Minot 69. Jamestown 66
JHS 38 28 — 66
MIN 31 38 — 69
JHS — Payton Hochhalter 17, Noah Meissner 16, Dalton Lamp 14, Ryan Larson 11, Mason Lunzman 6, Caydann Cox 2. Totals: 24 FG, 6-8 FT, 34 rebounds, 12 assists, 8 steals, 7 blocks, 8 turnovers, 18 fouls. 3-pointers: Hochhalter 4, Meissner 2, Lamp 2, Larson 2, Lunzman 2.
MIN — Morgan Nygaard 21, Aric Winczewski 20 Grayson Schaeffer 8, Logan Conklin 7, Darik Dissette 5, Payton Schell 3, Kaiden Helm 3, Carson Shipman 2. Totals: 23 FG, 14-18 FT, 39 rebounds, 15 assists, 6 steals, 4 blocks, 12 turnovers, 9 fouls. 3-pointers: Winczewski 4, Nygaard 3, Schell 1, Helm 1.