Boden Skunberg and Mason Walters provided the hefty 1-2 punch, and Jamestown earned a spot in the West Region championship game for the first time.
Skunberg and Walters combined for 47 points as the Blue Jays posted a 76-62 victory over St. Mary’s in the semifinals of the West Region basketball tournament on Friday at the Bismarck Event Center.
It was the second straight victory for the Blue Jays, who came into the tournament seeded sixth before posting wins over Mandan and St. Mary’s to clinch a berth in next week’s state Class A tournament, and a chance at their first West Region title tonight against top-ranked Century.
Skunberg, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, hit 14 of 18 shots from the field, including 7 of 8 from 3-point range, and finished with 35 points. Walters, a 6-6 junior, hit 10 of 14 shots from the field and posted a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
“Boden and Mason couldn’t have played any better and their teammates are unbelievably unselfish to understand how their night was going and to give them the ball like they did,” Jamestown coach Jacoby Lloyd said. “I know I was yelling at them to do it, but sometimes you have to take a back seat when somebody has a hot hand and those guys really performed tonight.”
The Blue Jays built an early seven-point lead and led 38-33 at the half.
They took command with a 16-3 run midway through the second half, powered by four 3-pointers – to from John Horgan and two from Skunberg. That run stretched Jamestown’s advantage to 63-46 with 7:33 remaining.
Horgan added 12 points for the Blue Jays (12-11) – hitting four of nine 3-point attempts.
“I’m unbelievably proud of how hard our team worked,” Lloyd said. “It’s one of those things where it can’t be our Super Bowl. We want to be at the level that Minot, Century, all those teams that are at that top level. We want to take that next step, so we can’t play one game like it’s our Super Bowl. We want to make it to the final game. That’s what we’re looking for.
“Their job’s not done though. We want to get that first WDA championship. But we have to look at the bigger picture. We won two before we lost two, so that’s that goal. Now we’re at state, now we get to play another week.”
Cole Gendreau hit 12 of 24 shots from the field and finished with 28 points for St Mary’s (8-16). Luke Kambeitz added 17.
“Cole Gendreau is as scary as any player that I’ve seen in the WDA tournament,” Lloyd said. “The way he can attack the basket and then shoot a 30-footer, it’s unbelievable. We had to change, throw fresh bodies at him, some length, some quickness, give him different looks. I thought in the first half we let him get comfortable driving on our guards. So then we went with Mason, just to give a little length he had to shoot over, went to Boden for a little bit, just had to throw different looks at him.
“Luke Kambeitz had a heck of a game, he’s a great player. Brent’s got a great team They’re fun to watch.”
Jamestown plays No. 1 seed Century (21-2) in the title game at 7:45 p.m.
St. Mary’s plays No. 8 seed Dickinson (8-16) at 4:15 p.m. in a state qualifier.