Dakota Wizards

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Dakota Wizards could be making their last stand in Bismarck.

The Wizards turned in a sloppy performance in Game 1 of their best-of-3 quarterfinal series in Bakersfield, dropping a 107-94 decision to the Jam.

With the Wizards’ apparent impending move to Santa Cruz, Calif., the team’s 17-year tenure in Bismarck could be coming to close. Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday at the Civic Center. Game 3, if necessary, would be Monday, also in Bismarck.

Brian Butch poured in a season-high 32 points for Bakersfield and also hauled down 15 rebounds. In two previous games against the Wizards he had scored a total of just 28 points. Jeremy Wise added 19 points and seven assists for the Jam. Derrick Byars chipped in 13.

Dakota’s starters combined for just 40 points. Among that quintet, only Stefhon Hannah (14 points) and Chris Wright (13) reached double figures.

The Wizards got off to a dreadful start, missing their first eight field-goal attempts as Bakersfield raced out to a 12-0 lead. It took 4:23 for the Wizards to register their first point, a free throw by Wright. It wasn’t until 6:01 was left in the first quarter that the Wizards finally made a field goal, a jumper by Edwin Ubiles.

It didn’t take long for the Wizards to get back in it. A 3-pointer by Hannah capped off a 15-3 spurt, tying the game at 15 with 2:59 to play in the first. The Wizards headed into the second quarter trailing 22-19.

Despite not playing that well, Dakota was ahead 38-37 heading into the final three minutes of the second quarter. But the Wizards finished the half just as poorly as they started. The Jam scored the final 13 points of the period, taking a 50-38 lead into intermission.

The biggest problem was turnovers. The Wizards gave away the ball 14 times in the first two periods, compared to just four turnovers by the Jam. The Wizards finished with 20 turnovers.

The Jam scored the first four points of the second half, extending their run to 17-0 before the Wizards finally answered. But behind the hot shooting of Butch, the Jam kept pulling away, leading by as much as 22 points (67-45).

The Wizards hit some 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter, getting as close as 80-68 early in the period, but treys from Butch and Trey Johnson gave the Jam some breathing room.

Boosted by Wright and Mike Anderson, the Wizards made a late run, closing to within 94-84, but never seriously threatened the Jam.

Anderson, little used toward the end of the season, led the Wizards with 15 points. Leo Lyons and Justin Johnson came off the bench to score 11 apiece.

Dakota’s leading scorer, Edwin Ubiles, was held in check. He scored just seven points on 3-for-9 shooting. Hannah, who has been among the league’s players down the stretch, made just 5 of 14 shots, although he did have eight assists. Veteran guard Maurice Baker played just 23 minutes and was held scoreless.

Former Wizard Renaldo Major was limited to just six points on 2-for-8 shooting.

Bakersfield is one victory from advancing in the D-League playoffs for the first time in the history of the franchise.

Wizards 19 38 54 94

Bakersfield 22 50 75 107

WIZARDS (94): Marcus Dove 2-5 2-2 6, Edwin Ubiles 3-9 1-4 7, Chris Wright 5-11 3-5 13, Stefhon Hannah 5-14 0-0 14, Maurice Baker 0-2 0-0 0 Tommy Smith 2-4 2-2 6, Shy Ely 2-4 2-2 7, Leo Lyons 4-7 1-2 11, Taylor Griffin 1-2 2-2 4, Justin Johnson 5-10 0-1 11, Mike Anderson 5-8 2-2 15. Totals 34-76 15-22 94.

BAKERSFIELD (107): Renaldo Major 2-8 2-2 6, Brian Butch 12-19 3-4 32, Adam Koch 4-6 0-0 8, Derrick Byars 5-10 2-2 13, Jeremy Wise 9-14 1-2 19, Adrian Thomas 1-5 0-0 3, Trey Johnson 1-7 8-10 11, Jamie Vanderbeken 1-2 0-0 3, Travis Leslie 2-4 1-2 5, Juan Pattillo 0-7 7-8 7. Totals 37-82 24-30 107.

3-pointers: W 11-21 (Hannah 4-9, Anderson 3-4, Lyons 2-3, Ely 1-2, Johnosn 1-2, Ubiles 0-1), B 9-22 (Butch 5-9, Johnson 1-1, Vanderbeken 1-2, Byars 1-3, Thomas 1-5). Rebounds: W 37 (Wright 9), B 43 (Butch 15). Assists: W 21 (Hannah 8), B 22 (Wise 7). Steals: W 5, B 12. Blocks: W 9, B 8. Total fouls: W 27, B 22. Fouled out: B, Koch. Technical fouls: None.

Series: Bakersfield leads best-of-3 1-0.

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