Late surge lifts Magicians
For just under 30 minutes, winless Turtle Mountain did enough to flummox second-ranked Minot on Tuesday night.
And when the Magicians weren’t adjusting to the myriad defenses the Braves threw at them, they inflicted enough of their own problems.
Down the stretch, though, Minot exhibited its firepower and affirmed why it’s one of the top programs in the state in a 67-47 West Region win at Magic City Campus.
Senior gunner Austin Frank connected on six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 22 points for Minot (7-1, 5-1) and Colter Hustad (13 points) came up big late.
The Magicians committed 10 of their 15 turnovers in first half and outside of Frank’s four first-half 3s couldn’t connect anywhere from the field.
“We didn’t make baskets,” Minot coach Dean Winczewski said. “We took too many quick shots, we rushed things and because of that we played into a really ugly style.”
The Braves were on the Magicians’ heels up until the ten-minute mark in the second half after Jalen Jeanotte’s 3 cut Minot’s lead to 36-33.
Up until that point it was a turnover fest for both teams. Jeanotte was keeping the Braves in the game, scoring 15 of his team-high 20 points in the first half.
Turtle Mountain (0-6, 0-7), considerably outsized by Minot, sank down defensively on Minot’s post players forcing Minot to shoot from the outside.
With one of their bigger players (Kersten Keplin) out with an injury, the plan worked when Minot’s shots’ weren’t falling.
“We knew we couldn’t match up with (Minot),” Turtle Mountain coach Chris Thomas said. “We used a lot of different zones to make them shoot (from distance), and it worked most of the game. (Frank) shot it well, though, and that was one of the things I was worried about.”
But when Minot was able to get better looks inside, it ran away from the Braves.
Hustad did most of his work in the final minutes that saw Minot outscore its foe 31-11. Senior wing Kyle Gerding was also key in that pursuit, scoring 10 his 11 points during that run.
“We just weren’t playing together (in the first half),” Frank said. “They were beating us and we weren’t screening away like we should of, but toward the end we showed them who we really are.”
The game’s biggest disparity was at the free-throw line, where Minot went 16-for-18. The Braves had just five attempts from the line, connecting on two.
Minot standout Brandon Van Dusen didn’t score until the 7:01 mark in the second half and finished with six rebounds.
“They lined up and played good at the end,” Winczewski said. “It was more of a process tonight than it should have been and we did that to ourselves.”
Minot, which forced Turtle Mountain into 21 turnovers, plays host to host to Century on Friday.