Shanley surges into semifinals

Fargo Shanley sophomore Sarah Jacobson drilled a 3-pointer with five seconds before the halftime buzzer in Thursday’s Class A state quarterfinal against Jamestown.

The No. 3 Deacons, the East Region champions, trailing the underdog Blue Jays by seven at the break.

Jacobson wasn’t concerned.

“Jamestown played a great first half,” Jacobson said, “but we knew if we kept getting after it, kept playing hard defense, that their offense would stop flowing.”

That it did. The Blue Jays managed just 16 points in the second half, as Shanley clamped down defensively to secure a 62-50 victory.

The Deacons (21-2) pushed their win streak is now 14. They will meet town rival Fargo Davies in a 3 p.m. semifinal today at the Minot State Dome.

Jamestown (12-11) shot just 24.1 percent after halftime, when it recorded less than half of if its first-half total. The Blue Jays shot 61.9 percent in the opening frame.

“We knew that (percentage) wasn’t going to stick around,” Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg said. “That’s just the law of averages kicking in, but it kicked in really hard for us. When you don’t make shots, it’s tough to win games.”

Meanwhile, the Deacons seemed to grow stronger as the game progressed.

Down by six, less than three minutes into the second half, Shanley surged ahead with a 16-1 run, punctuated by a Jacobson crowd-rousing steal, which led to one of her five assists, with 10:50 to play.

Jacobson, the East Region’s top scorer (21.7 ppg), paced Shanley with 24 points, 10 of which came from the free-throw line.

“We really buckled down,” Jacobson said. “We knew we needed to get the intensity up on defense and keep working hard.”

Jamestown had the deficit as low as five with 7:19 to go, but cold shooting proved to be the team’s downfall.

Paige Peterson spearheaded the Jamestown offense despite not scoring in the game’s opening nine minutes. The West Region’s leading scorer and rebounder, Peterson finished with 16 points and 10 boards.

“I thought Peterson did a very good job inside,” Shanley coach Tim Jacobson said. “She’s got such a nice touch.

“Credit to Jamestown. They were very well prepared.”

While the Blue Jays’ state championship bid is over, Skunberg insists that his players will not be hung up on their first-round loss for long.

They can’t afford to be. They play the two-time defending state champion, Century, tomorrow at 6 p.m. at the Aud.

“It’s lose or go home tomorrow,” Skunberg said. “It’s tournament time. We’ve got about an hour to sulk about this one for a little bit, and then we’ve gotta play the next game.”

The Patriots defeated Jamestown twice this season by a combined 41 points.

“It’ll be a great chance for us to earn a little redemption,” Skunberg said.

Joe Mellenbruch covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.