Missed chances haunt Minot

Minot’s opportunities were ample.

The Magicians were able to pry through Bismarck Century’s unrelenting defense and create open looks in Friday’s West Region game at Magic City Campus.

They just couldn’t finish.

A combination of point-blank misses, defensive lapses and young Century’s resolve equated to second-ranked Minot’s 55-46 loss.

Tyler Rudolph, Century’s 6-foot-6 junior forward, scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half to lead the Patriots in the upset, giving the Magicians their first region loss of the year.

Minot (7-2, 5-1), a club known for its perimeter adequacy, was a shoddy 3-for-14 from 3-point range and was held to just 33 percent from the field.

“We missed layups,” Minot coach Dean Winczewski said. “Anytime you miss 12 (layups) you’re going to lose. If we make half of them it’s a different ballgame.”

Austin Frank had a valiant effort, though, scoring a team-high 21 points for Minot, which was outrebounded 46-30.

Minot trailed 46-34 with just under two minutes left, but Frank – Minot’s only player to reach double figures – scored six points as MHS cut Century’s lead to four. From there the Patriots a won a free-throw battle, going 7-for-8 down the stretch.

“They’re a very good basketball team,” said Century coach Darin Mattern, a Surrey native. “They can do just about everything and we wanted to make it hard for them, and I thought we did that for the most part.”

The teams went blow for blow in a low-scoring first half that could only be suitable for a defensive purist. Neither team could hit a shot, resulting in a 20-18 halftime score in favor of the visitors.

When Century (7-3, 6-1), comprised of mostly of underclassmen, got looks inside it was able to separate itself.

Rudolph, who also ripped down 18 rebounds, scored 11 straight points to give Century a 31-21 lead.

Minot’s Frank, Colter Hustad, Brandon Van Dusen and Kyle Gerding each had a hand in a 9-2 run that got the Magicians within three, but that was as close as they would get.

Rudolph answered with back-to-back buckets and 3-pointers from Ben Holen and Tim Wegner were too much to overcome.

“I thought we had nice team balance tonight,” Mattern said. “Every time Minot made a run, we didn’t fold. For a young team like ours to do that, I’m very proud of them.”

Gerding finished with a team-high six rebounds and six assists for Minot, which travels to Williston on Thursday.