Mandan’s starting five is among the best in the state.
Tuesday night, the Braves got a jolt off the bench.
Sophomore Sydney Gustavsson pumped in 14 points as the No. 3-ranked Braves blew out Jamestown 74-49 at the Mandan High School gym.
Gustavsson sank three of the Braves’ 13 3-pointers as Mandan rolled to its eighth straight win and ninth in 10 games overall.
“It’s great that my teammates had confidence to get me the ball when I was open. Then you just have to make them,” Gustavsson said. “We were moving the ball really well and getting a lot of good shots and we were able to make a lot of them.”
Mandan scored 41 first-half points, pulling away from a Jamestown team which came in with a 6-2 record. The Blue Jays struggled with turnovers, committing 13 in the first half and 10 more in the second.
“We knew they were a good team and we just wanted to be aggressive and take it to them, Gustavsson said. “Both teams started off kind of slow but we were able to get it going defensively, and that got our offense going.”
Five different Mandan players made 3-pointers in the first half, including two from Gustavsson.
Taylor Leingang, another 10th-grader off the bench, buried a 3-ball to give Mandan its biggest lead of the half, to date, at 34-20.
“I thought we started a little slow. The gym was quiet and we told them that’s going to be your challenge. You need to bring your own energy,” Mandan coach Abby Thomas said. “Once we started moving the ball better and a couple shots started to fall, we loosened up and were able to find a better rhythm.”
Zander led the Braves with 19 points. Kennedy Harris finished with 15 and Gustavsson 14. Lakyn Darras also was in double figures (12).
Jamestown was led by Courtney Peterson and Grace Hegerle with 13 points each.
The Braves dominated the backboards, piling up 13 offensive rebounds.
“We just wanted to be aggressive on both ends of the floor,” Gustavsson said. “That’s when we’re at our best. Things are going really well right now. We just want to keep it going.”
The Braves are back at home Saturday against Watford City.
“We just want to take it one game at a time, one practice at a time and not look too far ahead,” Thomas said. “We’re playing well but we can still improve our overall consistency. We know our girls will keep working hard at it.”