Youth is served for Majettes basketball

Jayden Moum might feel a tad lonely the evening of Feb. 25, when the Minot High girls basketball team hosts Williston for senior night.

On a roster that features eight juniors, nine sophomores and a pair of freshmen, Moum will be the lone Majette honored that evening. And as the team’s elder and most experienced returner, she’ll be relied on for leadership.

“Jayden Moum is the big leader for me this year,” sixth-year coach Todd Magnuson said. “She’s gotta be the one pushing the kids. She’s gotta rally everybody.”

Said the 5-foot-7 Moum: “It’s definitely different. I came from volleyball, having five different girls (seniors) with me to help lead the team. But this year I know the juniors are gonna step up and help me the whole time.”

The Majettes, coming off a 10-11 campaign that fell one win short of the Class A state tournament, hope to rally back to the main event this year. Their last state appearance was in 2012.

Minot lost three seniors but returns the majority of its minutes. Along with Moum, juniors Sierra Duttenhefer and Sophie Bengson and sophomore forward Cassie Askvig boast plenty of varsity experience. Sierra’s twin sister, McKale, also projects to receive a bulk of the minutes along with junior forward Brooke Suko.

Askvig, an all-West Region tournament team selection, could be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. She posted eight points and five rebounds per game last year in an expanded reserve role and is a lock for the starting lineup this season.

“She’s a (6-foot-1) post player, but she’s the type of kid that can step out and shoot the 3,” Magnuson said. “That’s gonna be big for us. And she’s gonna be a big presence for us inside in our defensive scheme.”

The Duttenhefers were hampered by knee injuries a year ago, but are back to – or at least close to – 100 percent. Sierra Duttenhefer returned partway through last season and put up eight points and three boards a contest.

“They’re probably closer to 90 percent,” Magnuson said. “Once they get to full strength, they’re gonna be fun to watch.”

Moum (six points, three rebounds) and Bengson (six points, four rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.5 steals) also figure to contribute.

Aside from Askvig, the Majettes have limited size. Minot plans to press frequently and score in transition.

“We aren’t the tallest team, so we really need to run the floor,” Moum said. “Setting up an offense isn’t always gonna work for us, so definitely need to push ourselves and condition hard.”

Magnuson expects defending state champion Century to contend for the West Region title along with 2013 state qualifiers Jamestown and Bismarck High. The fourth slot, he said, is up for grabs.

“We can’t expect to dazzle the world the first part of the season,” Magnuson said. “By midseason, I hope to be in the hunt for the top four spots in the region.”

Ryan Holmgren covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.