Second-half surge too much for upset-minded Williston

Loni Bryantt wasn’t about to give cellar-dwelling Williston any more leeway.

When Minot gave the winless Coyotes breathing room on Thursday night at Magic City Campus, the Magicians found themselves in a brief deficit.

At that point Bryantt, one of three seniors

celebrating Senior Night, went on a 3-point shooting deluge to help lift the Majettes to a 71-60 win in their regular-season finale.

Bryantt connected on 5 of 6 treys in the second half and poured in a game-high 21 points, helping Minot solidify its No. 4 seed heading into next week’s West Region tournament.

Minot (9-9, 9-7) will face fifth-seeded Mandan (10-9, 9-7) on Thursday night at the Bismarck Civic Center. The Majettes swept the Braves during the regular season.

“I just knew something had to be done,” Bryantt said. “(Losing) would not have been a good way to go out on senior night. Williston definitely came out strong, but we took control in the second half and did what we needed to do.”

All three seniors enjoyed double-digit outings. Post Andie Hankla (20 points) did her damage inside and out for Minot, while speedster Morgan Milbrath chipped in 11.

The Majettes, who handled the Coyotes 50-22 in January, came out flat-footed on defense and an inspired Williston team took advantage.

The Coyotes (0-19, 0-16) hit four of their five total 3s in the first half and never trailed by more than two. Molly Haagenson’s long jumper gave Williston a 31-30 lead just before the half, but a Milbrath bucket at the buzzer gave Minot the edge at intermission.

“In the first half we were just lackadaisical,” Minot coach Todd Magnuson said. “We just told them to relax and shoot the ball.”

And that’s exactly what Minot did.

After Williston took another one-point lead to start the half, Bryantt and Hankla were as assertive offensively as they’ve been all season, sparking an 18-2 run.

“(Hankla) had one of the better games she’s had all season,” Magnuson said. “That was a good gut-check win for us. Now we need to get ready for Mandan and WDA.”

Sophomore Sophie Bengson also had a noteworthy night for Minot with 13 points and three steals.

Williston was paced by Haagenson (12 points, nine rebounds), Emily Lysne (14) and Shelby Njos (14).