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 From the Minot bench, it must have resembled a train wreck.

 From the Century perspective, Saturday's 79-50 boys basketball victory over the top-ranked Magicians must have seemed like an early Christmas present.

 For the onlookers assembled at Century's Olson gym, it was a study in the unexpected. Century, ranked fifth in the statewide Class A media poll, jumped on Minot hard at the start of both halves and in the process constructed a blowout.

 In the wake of the surprising runaway, however, both coaches urged caution.

 "In no way is the score indicative of the type of team Minot is," CHS coach Darin Mattern cautioned as he assessed the three-time defending state champions.

 Minot coach Dean Winczewski noted that this is pre-Christmas basketball.

 "It's A game," he said with a heavy emphasis on "A." "... It's up to us to reset our focus and go to work."

 Kade Amundson, Century's 6-foot-6  senior post, was an undiluted terror in the first half, scoring 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers.

 With Amundson leading the way, Century tore away to a 35-21 lead.

 "Amundson did a good job of getting us going and we fed off that energy," Mattern said.

 Minot temporarily righted the ship, scoring seven of the final nine points in the first half to trail 37-28 at intermission.

 More trouble awaited the Magicians in the early stages of the second half, though. Century took off on an 18-2 spree right after the break for a 55-30 lead, and it was lights out for Minot with 12 minutes to play.

 Josh Sipes, Cade Feeney and Amundson each contributed five points to that decisive 18-point run.

 "We were selfish with the basketball, and they took us out of the things we wanted to do. ... We didn't adjust. That's an extremely talented basketball team, and we've got to change," Winczewski said. 

 Amundson, a returning all-region selection, said Mattern ordered up a fast getaway, and the team responded.

 "Mattern told us to come out with an aggressive mindset and set the tempo, and we did," he said. 

 Amundson was far and away the game's top offensive player with 27 points. For good measure he grabbed eight rebounds to help the Patriots to a 39-25 advantage on the boards. Sipes, a 6-3 senior forward, added 18 points and led the Patriots by yanking down a dozen rebounds. Kade Lynch, a 6-1 senior guard, chipped in 10 points.

 That threesome also accounted for eight 3-pointers as the Patriots shot a sizzling 10-for-20 from outside the arc.

 Veteran guards Chandler Albertson and Alex Schimke scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, for Minot, but none of the other Magicians topped six points. Schimke, a 6-2 junior, was Minot's top rebounder with eight.

  Like his coach, Amundson wasn't getting carried away with Saturday's turn of events.

 "It's early in the season. Both teams have time to grow," he observed. "I don't think this really matters much. What matters is what we do in March."

 Amundson said part of his obvious improvement is the result of a productive offseason.

 "I put in some time in the weight room, and that gave me confidence on the blocks. And shooting in the gym gave me confidence to just go and play my game," he said.

 Although he's still not bulky, Amundson weighs 195 pounds, up 15 pounds from last season.

 Century, now 4-1, returns to the court on Tuesday, taking on Bismarck, 4-0, in a 6:30 game at the Event Center. Minot will try to get back on track on Thursday when it plays host to Devils Lake in a non-regional game.

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