For the most part this season, things have held true to form in the West Region girls basketball standings.
With the postseason approaching, there had not been many major surprises. Century, St. Mary's and Mandan, the preseason favorites, had been rolling along losing only to each other.
Until Tuesday night, that is.
In the middle of an up and down season, Jim Petrick's Legacy Sabers pulled off a shocker with a 58-56 road win over then No. 2-ranked Mandan.
"It was a big confidence booster for us to win a game against a team of that caliber," Legacy head coach Jim Petrik said. "We've been playing pretty well the last few games. The kids have been playing loose and with a bunch of energy and it carried over to (Tuesday) night."
Coming into the contest, the Braves still had a puncher's chance to climb over St. Mary's and into the No. 2 spot. Century pretty much has the No. 1 seed sewn up at 13-0 in conference games.
Despite being the defending Class A state champions, Petrik knew it'd be a work in progress for his young team this season. Whitney Thomas, the Sabers' leading scorer at 14 points per game, was the lone player back having played major minutes last season.
"We knew it'd be a process and that we couldn't base things on wins and losses early in the season," Petrik said. "Being young in the WDA is not ideal. It makes it tough because of the level of competition you see on a nightly basis."
Petrik said loosening the reigns has brought out the best in his young squad.
"We found out the hard way with this group to not over-coach them ... for the most part, just let them go out and play," Petrik said. "We've had bumps in the road, but the kids play hard.
"We just wanted to see daily improvement and hopefully be playing our best in February and March."
Legacy's game plan against Mandan was to try and prevent star junior point guard Kennedy Harris from getting a full head of steam with the ball in her hands. It worked pretty well as Harris was held to 11 points on 14 shots. Limiting second-chance opportunities and attempting to keep Megan Zander in check, hardly anybody can do that, also were goals for the game.
"Harris and Zander are great players. I thought we did a pretty good job of not letting them get anything too easily," Petrik said. "You have to be happy if you can keep a team like Mandan under 60."
The Sabers were led by Ashley Hulm's 13 points. Thomas, Taryn Allmaras and Alexis Dressler had 12 points each. Hulm and Dressler are sophomores.
The Sabers sit sixth in the West Region at 7-7, right behind Bismarck High (8-7) and Jamestown (7-6). The Sabers and Blue Jays split their two matchups, while the Demons won the first meeting against Legacy. The second game is Feb. 20 at Karlgaard Gymnasium. The Sabers also have games remaining against Minot (Feb. 10), Century (Feb. 13) and Williston (Feb. 16).
"Right now we could finish anywhere from fourth to seventh," Petrik said. "Our mindset is to worry about one game at a time and let the chips fall where they may at the end of the season.
"The region tournament is going to be pretty competitive. A lot of things could happen. Hopefully we'll put ourselves in the best position possible to win two out of three."
Turtle Lake-Mercer-McClusky's Trapper Jacobs can fill it up, no secret there.
But Tuesday night, the 6-foot-2 all-region guard really went off.
In the Trojans' 81-73 win over New Town, Jacobs poured in 50 points. The victory boosted TL-M-M's record to 14-3 with two regular season games remaining.
The Trojans play back-to-back games Feb. 16-17 against Standing Rock (home) and at Kidder County to wrap up the regular season. The District 10 tournament begins Feb. 23. The Region 5 tournament, at the Bismarck Events Center, tips off March 5.