Minot goes cold in state-qualifying game

BISMARCK – When the rims became smaller for Minot, so did its state tournament hopes.

The Majettes, who sizzled from behind the 3-point line, went cold down the stretch in a 52-43 loss to Jamestown in a winner-to-state game Saturday at the Bismarck Civic Center.

Fourth-seeded Minot connected on 10 3s – six by freshman Cassie Askvig – but the second-seeded Blue Jays chipped away at the Majettes in the paint the entire West Region tournament game.

Paced by Askvig’s 18 points, the Majettes ended their whirlwind season with a 10-12 mark.

“We couldn’t buy a bucket those last few minutes of the game,” Minot coach Todd Magnuson said. “(Jamestown) did a great job in the post. But hats off to my kids – nobody even thought we’d get this far.”

With just over three minutes to go, Minot senior Andie Hankla hit a jumper to knot the contest at 43-43 – but the Majettes wouldn’t score again.

At that point Jamestown (19-6), which outrebounded Minot 43-30, put the ball in star Kyra Dewald’s hands and she made it a point to get it inside.

The sure-handed guard hit McKayla Orr (14 points) on a backdoor cut for a 3-point play and fed 6-foot-1 Paige Peterson (11 points, 12 rebounds) regularly. Dewald (19 points) connected on 4-of-5 free throws in the final minutes.

Minot had ample opportunities to regain the lead in that stretch, but went 0-of-8 from the field and 0-of-3 at the charity stripe.

The Majettes finished a shoddy 3-of-13 at the line and went 5-for-23 from inside the perimeter.

“We tried to keep them in front of us so they didn’t drive,” Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg said. “Give them credit for hitting shots but, in the end, the law of averages caught up with them.”

In a game that featured eight lead changes and six ties, Minot – namely Askvig – came out firing after trailing 27-23 at intermission.

The 6-foot freshman (6-for-7 from 3-point range) hit four contested treys, one of which gave the Majettes a 33-30 lead and short-lived momentum.

The bigger club was hardly deterred by the 3-point deluge, though.

“We did our best,” Minot senior Morgan Milbath said. “We put everything out on the floor. They had a little bit better of a post game and that’s what it came down to.”

Loni Bryantt had nine points and Hankla put up eight in their final prep basketball game.