Magicians claim back-to-back Western titles | News, Sports, Jobs

The Minot Magicians boys’ basketball team celebrate back-to-back championships with their fans on Saturday. The magicians defeated Bismarck’s demons 80-68.

BISMARCK — Minot High Boys’ head coach Dean Winczewski called the West Tournament a meat grinder after Friday night’s win over Bismarck St. Mary’s.

The Magicians came out of the meat grinder as the top seeds in the state Elite Eight tournament after an 80-68 win over the Bismarck Demons.

The teams battled it out throughout the first half. A match that included six tied scores and two lead changes. The biggest first-half lead was eight points for Minot, 20-12. The Demons deployed a full-court press, held a slim two-point lead, 35-33, with 10 seconds left in the first half. Minot’s Eric Wentz hit a runner as the clock ran out to level the score before halftime, 35-35. The Magicians missed just eight shots in the first half, shooting 62% from the field. The Demons forced 12 turnovers in the first half.

“That’s how it is with Bismarck High,” said Winczewski. “Coach Wilhelm is doing a great job. His kids are tough as nails. They’re as good a team as there is in the state.

The teams traded buckets to open the second half, keeping the game tied early at 37-37. The Magicians increased their defensive pressure, going on a 13-0 run over the next three minutes. Logan Conklin scored five runs on the run, hitting a three and a two. Jaeger Gunville hit his first basket of the game, a three-pointer. Wentz added a three and a pair of free throws for five points. Wentz’s free throws extended Minot’s lead to 50-39.

“We still have a week to play. We’re pretty lucky to have the kids we have. said Winczewski. “I thought our kids were playing extremely hard. That’s all we can ask for and I think we bounced back better in the second half.

The Demons cut the lead to five, 50-45, going quick 8-2 with five points from Treysen Eaglestaff and George Gillette three. After a timeout from Minot, and the teams trading buckets with Wentz scoring for Minot and Kyler Scott for the Demons.

The Magi took control of the game with a big defensive save with 10:56 left in the second half. Wentz came into the lane on a drive from Cole Jahner to the hoop, picking up the offensive charge against the Demons. In the ensuing Magician game, Logan Conklin buried a three, giving the Magicians a 10-point, 55-47 lead. A lead that the Magi never gave up, winning 80-68.

Minot held the Demons to 13 of 35, 37.1 percent, in the second half, including 5 of 19, 26.3 percent from behind the arch. The Magicians also limited their turnovers, having just two turnovers in the last 18 minutes.

Wentz led all scorers by 22 points and grabbed five rebounds for Minot. Darik Dissette added 18 points and six rebounds. Gunville scored his 12 points in the second half, hitting four of five from behind the arch. Conklin finished with a double-double scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

For Bismarck, Eaglestaff finished with 20 points. Gillette shot 16.

“Coach has a saying” said Gunville of Minot after the game. Gunville protected Bismarck’s leading scorer, Eaglestaff. “Coach says height doesn’t measure heart. I don’t have the height. I have the heart.”

The Magicians open the Super Class A Elite Eight State Tournament. The West seed Thursday at 2 p.m. against Fargo North in Bismarck. Bismarck is the second seed West and will face defending champion West Fargo at 8 p.m.


Sims 1 0-0 2, Stotz 3 0-0 7, Gillette 5 2-2 16, 1 0-0 2, Jahner 0 0-0 0, Henke 2 0-0 5, Fischer 2 0-0 4, Scott 3 0-0 8, Huber 2 0-0 4, Hafner 0 0-0 0, Henriksen 0 0-0 0, Austin 0 0-0 0, Eaglestaff 8 3-3 20, Totals 27 5-5 68.

MINOT (80):

Nygaard 1 4-4 6, Iversen 0 0-0 0, Martinez 1 0-0 2, Wentz 9 2-2 22, Dissette 7 3-5 18, Winczewski 2 0-0 5, Domsteen 2 0-0 4, Conklin 2 6-7 11, Gunville 4 0-0 12, Keizer 0 0-0 0, Schaeffer 0 0-0 0, Totals 28 15-18 80.

3-point goals: Stotz, Gillette 4, Henke, Scott 2, Eaglestaff, Wentz 2, Dissette, Winczewski, Conklin, Gunville 4.

St. Mary 35 33 – 68

Minot 35 45 – 80

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Brian L. Hartfield