Some red-hit shooting from Ian Ely helped spark Century early on.
Ely, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, drilled three early 3-pointers, helping the Patriots jump out to an early lead on Friday night. Century went on to post a 71-61 West Region victory over No. 5-ranked Mandan at the Olson Gymnasium.
“The biggest thing is, we have confidence in our shooters,” Century coach Darin Mattern said. “First and foremost, we want to have team balance. We think down the road that’s going to make us the best team is to have that balance and with varsity time last year. Ian is a kid that we expect a lot out of. We expect him to make some shots and I thought he set the tone nice and hit some shots to get us rolling a bit early.
“That’s something for him to build on and for our team to build on.”
Century got the lead early -- the only time thy trailed in the game was 2-0 after Mandan’s Elijah Klein opened the scoring on a reverse layup.
Ely hit three treys in an 11-0 run that gave Century the lead for good. The Patriots hit six 3-pointers in the first half -- getting one each from Cade Feeney, Justice Coleman and Jordan LeBeau -- in building a 26-13 lead with 4:24 left in the first half and leading 30-22 at the intermission.
The Patriots led by double digits most of the way. Mandan went on an 11-2 run in the second half to trim 16-point deficit to just seven at 47-39. But Century countered with a 3-pointer by Ely, a Feeney putback and a steal and a finish by Feeney to get the momentum back, pushing the lead back to 14 at 56-42.
“I tell the kids all the time, basketball is a game of runs,” Mattern said. “You have to be able to weather the storm. How are you going to react when adversity hits you? I think we have a long way to go as far as that is concerned. Our kids are willing to grow in that area and I think we will. But you have to be able to answer teams’ runs when they make runs and fortunately we were able to make some plays when they got it down to eight and we were able to hang on.”
Mattern said conditioning was a factor.
“It looked like to me that we got tired,” he said. “We’re not obviously where we need to be as far as basketball shape but it’s a long season. It’s a marathon not a sprint and I think coach Schafer would say the same thing. It’s the early stages of the season. I thought we played hard but we played tired at times and when you’re playing against a big kid he’s going to expose any breakdowns that you have.”
Mandan’s Elijah Klein was held to four first-half points by had 17 in the second half to finish with 21.
Feeney had 14 of his 21 in the second half, leading Century (2-1, 2-0 West Region) with 21. Ely added 20, including six 3s. Coleman added 11.
The win was a big one early in West Region play.
“It’s important to win your home games in this league because it’s not easy to win on the road,” Mattern said. “The opportunities you have at home, you have to take advantage of them because when we go over there to end the season, that’s going to be a tough ball game when we play on their floor. It’s a nice win and something to build on.”
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Jayce Lowman added 13 and Tyler Thilmony finished with 11 for the Braves (1-2, 1-1 West Region).
The Patriots travel to Turtle Mountain on Tuesday while Mandan hosts Bismarck on Tuesday.
Century 62, Mandan 48
The first 22 minutes belonged to the Braves.
But the Patriots turned things around in a hurry, closing the game on a 33-9 burst to remain undefeated at 3-0, 2-0 in the West Region.
There were no real big tactical changes at the intermission.
“We started to play like we should be playing,” Patriots coach Ron Metz said. “The first half we just got a little out of sorts and then things snowballed. Then shots don’t go in and then they get a little frustrated with that. And we didn’t do a good job of boxing out. Give Mandan credit for crashing the boards and they got a lot of extra shots and opportunities, a lot of second- and third-chance shots.
“We just discussed giving a better effort on the rebounding and boxing out, not giving them second chance shots and then being confident shooters.”
Sydney Gustavsson scored 13 of her 17 points in the first half and Amaya Ramsey hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 first-half points as Mandan (1-1, 0-1 West Region) twice built a 10-point lead in the first half and took a 34-25 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Mandan led 39-29 with 13:44 remaining after a Lakyn Darras basket restored the double-digit lead.
But Century turned things around quickly. Second-half 3-pointers from Aleah Clarke, Chloe Markovic, Julia Fitterer, Jordan Nissley and Ashton Kinnebrew sparked the late charge, including a 22-4 burst that turned a 10-point deficit into a 51-43 advantage in a matter of seven and a half minutes.
“You see one go in, even by a teammate, then it’s a lot of confidence. It just kind of took over,” Metz said.
Nissley and Kinnebrew each finished with 13 points to lead the Patriots.
A win over the No. 5-ranked Braves was a big one for Century.
“A big win over a good team and our first game on our home court,” Metz said. “We’re all new to each other this year with the adjustments we’ve had to make with the two seniors and having Lauren out, so it’s been a lot of adjustments. We’re still getting used to things. It’s early but it’s good for our confidence to be able to play like that the second half.”