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Still finding 'it': Blue Jays come up just shy of Williston

The Jamestown High School boys basketball team hosted Williston on Jan. 7

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Jamestown's Preston Kroeber handles the ball under pressure put on by Ethan Moe of Williston during high school play Friday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

How the last 47.3 seconds played out at Jerry Meyer Arena Friday night left the Blue Jays stunned.

"We just got outworked and outhustled," Jamestown High School head boys basketball coach Jacoby Lloyd said. "We had too many costly turnovers -- Williston just played a home game in our gym. That's frustrating."

Eight days after dropping 63-53 to Bismarck Century, the Blue Jays allowed Williston to earn its second win of the season. The Coyotes topped the Jays 63-61 to move to 2-6 in the conference standings.

Jamestown is now split at 2-4 in the WDA. The team's next shot at a win is slated to come Saturday against Dickinson. The JHS doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.

From the first tip, it was clear it was going to be a dogfight.

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Six minutes into the first half, the two teams had combined for 23 total points, with the Jays barely outscoring the visitors 12-11. While Williston had the early advantage, up 7-4, an 8-2 run fueled by Mason Lunzman and Adam Kallenbach soon flipped the score to read 12-9 Blue Jays.

Both teams had some trouble landing shots early on, but Williston proved to be the one able to control the boards. A couple of putbacks and rebounds nabbed gave the Coyotes the 15-13 lead, an advantage that held until Luke Van Berkom tied things up with a bucket on the inside.

Jamestown's biggest lead of the first half came after Kallenbach drilled a 3-pointer to make it 26-20 with 3:30 left to play before the break. The six-point advantage lasted about 10 seconds as Williston rebounded with a three and a steal that resulted in a single-handed dunk by Isiah St. Romain to pull back within one.

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Jamestown's Preston Kroeber handles the ball under pressure put on by Ethan Moe of Williston during high school play Friday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

With 1:07 left to play, things were even at 27 points and six fouls apiece, a putback from Jamestown's Caydann Cox made it 29-27 at the half. Williston was 3-of-7 from the charity stripe while the Jays were 2-for-4.

"We have a lot of young kids playing basketball right now," Lloyd said. "We have a completely different team. We lost eight seniors -- six or seven of which played crucial minutes and they had such different skill sets."

An 11-2 run gave the Jays their largest lead of the night, up 40-31, but as Lloyd always says, no lead or game should be taken lightly in the WDA.

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"We are trying to build our confidence but it's really hard in the WDA to gain confidence because at any point in time you are going to run into a game like this," Lloyd said. "When you are up seven or eight points in a game like this, you can't let it slip away."

With back-to-back 3s from Malaki Sik, the Coyotes regained the lead up 45-43 but an 11-3 run by the home team flipped the script. Kallenbach and Dalton Lamp nailed a combined three from downtown and kept the pressure high on the defensive end.

Kallenbach went on to hit the Jays' first pair of free throws to make it 56-48 with five minutes left on the clock. The senior guard was the game's high scorer with 25 points. He also nabbed seven rebounds.

"He's always been this type of a player at whatever level he was competing at," Lloyd said of Kallenbach. "Adam is our leader and the younger kids should lean on him and try to emulate what he does as a player because he does everything almost exactly the way it's supposed to be done.

"Nobody is perfect, but he's a pretty darn good basketball player."

But one veteran basketball player does not a team make.

A series of missed passes and fouls on the Jays gave the Coyotes plenty of chances at the stripe and inside, and the Coyotes responded, slowly chipping away at the eight-point lead. St. Romain's driving bucket and one tied things up at 60.

A foul on the Jays with 47.3 seconds left sent St Romain to the stripe, where he managed to tie it at 61. A steal at midcourt gave the sophomore forward the chance to end it. He took it and floated in the game-winning bucket to cap off his 24 points.

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"Credit them," Lloyd said of Williston. "They made big plays and they stayed competitive. We backed away, we shied away from it."

Lloyd said he is hopeful his squad won't back down against the 3-3 Dickinson squad.

"We are fortunate that we get to compete again right away," Lloyd said. "The biggest thing though is that we have to compete. We have to come out and bring energy and enthusiasm."

Williston 63, Jamestown 61

WIL 27 36 -- 63

JHS 29 32 -- 61

WIL -- St. Romain 24, Sik 17, Kaden Finders 12, Jayden Williams 4, Aaliyah Sowell 4, Austin Baumer 2. Totals: 24 FG, 11-21 FT, 13 fouls. 3-pointers: Sik 4.

JHS -- Adam Kallenbach 25, Lamp 14, Lunzman 8, Van Berkom 6, Caydann Cox 4, Ryan Larson 2, Devin Beach 1, Noah Meissner 1. Totals: 21 FG, 7-16 FT, 20 fouls (Lunzman). 3-pointers: Kallenach 7, Lamp 4, Lunzman.

Records: Williston 2-6 WDA, 2-6 overall; Jamestown 2-4, 3-4.

Related Topics: BASKETBALLPREP SPORTSBLUE JAYS BASKETBALLJAMESTOWN BLUE JAYS
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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