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BOYS BASKETBALL: Minot surges past Devils Lake

BISMARCK--Derek Gathman was feeling fairly good about the situation. Two minutes were left in the first half and his Devils Lake team was down only one point to defending state champion Minot. That changed pretty quickly, however. "I was feeling ...

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Jacob Mertens of Devils Lake looks to pass around Braydon Lund of Minot during the North Dakota State Class A Boys basketball tournament Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Bismarck. Dave Wallis / The Forum

 

BISMARCK--Derek Gathman was feeling fairly good about the situation.

Two minutes were left in the first half and his Devils Lake team was down only one point to defending state champion Minot. That changed pretty quickly, however.

"I was feeling pretty good,'' Gathman said. "Then, about 1 1/2 minutes later, it's 13 points down. That got out of hand pretty quickly. They can do that to teams.''

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Minot used a big surge to close the first half and start the second to run by Devils Lake 73-58 here Thursday in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament.

The Magicians closed the first half on a 12-2 run, then scored the first 10 of the second half.

"We got the ball on some turnovers and got out and ran. That's who we are,'' Minot coach Dean Winczewski said.

But 12 points in 1:41? "Not (points) that quickly usually. That was unique,'' the coach said.

Devils Lake stayed close to the Magicians for most of the first half, tying the score at 22 with 3:25 left on a Jagger Miller basket.

Fifteen seconds later, Chandler Albertson hit a free throw to break the tie. Then Minot blitzed the Firebirds, scoring 12 unanswered points in a 1:41 span.

DiAndre Booker hit a 3-pointer to start the outburst with 1:53 left in the first half. KyJuan Johnson stole the ensuing DL inbounds pass and hit a layup, then Johnson hit a 3-pointer on Minot's next possession.

Ben Bolinske followed with a 3-point play and, with 12 seconds left in the half, Booker hit a free throw. Jake Mertens connected on a layup at the buzzer, but that still left the Firebirds down 35-24 at halftime.

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Devils Lake never recovered. Minot stretched its run to 23-2 with a 10-0 run to start the second half capped by a pair of Johnson 3-point baskets.

The second-half spurt was the key, Winczewski said. "With the way Devils Lake can shoot, you have to give yourself some space. We felt fortunate to get that lead and have some breathing room.''

After falling behind 45-24, Devils Lake got no closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

"We didn't want to get out and run with them,'' Gathman said. "They're so athletic. You saw what happened at the end of the first half.

"We've come back (from big deficits) in games. But they're athletic and their length made it tough.''

Mertens had a game-high 24 points to lead the Firebirds, with Zach Dahlen adding 10.

Johnson scored 17 and Justin Engg 17 to lead Minot.

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