Stretching the streak

A mediocre first half left Minot High with a six-point halftime lead over Turtle Mountain on Tuesday night. For the fifth-ranked team in the state, that wasn’t nearly good enough, Minot junior Noah Bosh said.

“We’re never satisfied with a six-point lead, especially at home,” he said. “We had to be better off physically and defensively.”

The Magicians cleaned up the glass and defended markedly better in the second half as they posted an 85-73 win at Magic City Campus, stretching their win streak to six.

Minot sophomore center Braydon Lund, making his third straight start, poured in 13 of his career-high 22 points after halftime and snared 10 rebounds for a double-double. The 6-foot-4 banger scored nine of Minot’s first 10 out of the break, with two coming on a fast-break bucket that Magi fans will certainly dub a one-handed flush.

“He’s playing amazing right now,” Bosh said. “He’s the most athletic kid I’ve ever played with. He’s working his tail off.”

Bosh added 21 points, 17 of which came during a brilliant first half when the 6-4 forward was fouled on two made 3-pointers in the opening three minutes. His second and-one from downtown spotted Minot an 8-7 lead – an advantage the Magicians never relinquished.

Minot (7-1 overall, 4-1 West Region) hit 7 of 18 from downtown (38.9 percent) in the first half, with three coming from Bosh, to tally 45 points. But the Braves (1-5, 1-4) dazzled from deep before halftime as well, knocking down 5 of 10 treys to keep pace with the home squad.

“I think what helped us is we pushed the ball in transition a little bit and we swung guys out,” Turtle Mountain coach DJ McGillis said.

The Magicians scored 24 of the first 34 points out of the break and forced seven of the Braves’ 19 turnovers in the first nine minutes. Following an errant Turtle Mountain pass, Minot senior Kolton Larson flipped in a layup for a 69-49 lead at the 9:22 mark. Minot outscored the Braves 33-22 in points off turnovers.

“It was rebounding and we contested shots,” Minot coach Dean Winczewski said. “We got some stops and we continued to make baskets.”

Added McGillis: “We didn’t work as hard for getting a better shot, making the extra pass. We kind of were forcing and trying to catch up too quick.”

The Magicians eventually stretched their lead to 81-60 with 3:12 to play before heeding way for the reserves. Minot made 21 of 32 shots from the charity stripe, with 19 attempts coming in the second half.

Winczewski said the Magicians were mostly efficient offensively and made decent strides on defense heading into Friday’s home game against No. 3 Century.

“You see 73 on the board and definitely that’s not acceptable defensively,” he said, “but they throw in 12 late or whatever it was. We’re progressing.”

Minot junior guard Dakota Halvorson had 14 points and four assists, while Larson finished in double figures with 10 points.

Sophomore guard Landyn Keplin scored 16 points on 6 of 11 shooting for Turtle Mountain, which hosts No. 1 St. Mary’s on Friday.

“They’re a tough team,” McGillis said of Minot. “They’re 7-1 for a reason. They got one loss in the WDA. They’re gonna be a team right at the top.”

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