Magicians outlast Saints to advance to WDA Finals | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo submitted The Magicians Morgan Nygaard scored a rebound in the semi-final against St. Mary’s on Friday at Bismarck. Photos courtesy of Jon Jablonski.

BISMARCK – After sharing one win from their regular season game each. The Minot Wizards took on the Bismarck St. Mary’s Saints in the 2022 West Region Men’s Basketball Championship Semifinals in a rubber game.

The third game lasted 36 minutes as the Magicians retired late, claiming a 75-70 victory over the Saints.

The Magicians opened the game on a 14-2 streak. Only for the Saints to respond with a 15-3 run to tie the game at 17 apiece with 8:52 left in the first half. Minot outscored St. Mary’s 19-13 to end the first half with a 36-30 lead.

The Saints shot within two points 44-42 with 1:40 left in the second half. A pair of three-pointers by Minot’s Jaeger Gunville and Morgan Nygaard’s jump started a 10-0 run at Minot. Darick Dissette scored the next four for Minot on a layup and an emphatic dunk on a steal to end Minot’s run. A colon just inside the Saint Matthew Selensky’s arch ended the Magi’s run. The Magicians led 54-44.

You have to play a full 36 minutes against such a talented team, Minot head coach Dean Winczewski said. “We found a way to the end.”

Minot held the Saints at bay despite Evan Gross’ best efforts during the final minutes of the second half. Gross dropped 12 points in the second half to bring St. Mary’s within five points.

The Magician’s defense sealed the win with 56 seconds left. St. Mary’s Garrett Bader broke through Minot’s defense, setting up a floater that found the back of the net. The game was called by the referees and the basket was canceled. Minot’s Morgan Nygaard picked up the late offensive charge call against Bader.

“We have worked all year to have perfect saves”, said Minot senior guard Eric Wentz. “It was about getting perfect saves, ending with the rebound.”

In total, the Magicians had four double-figure players. Minot was led by Dissette with 21 points and seven rebounds. Wentz added 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and two assists.

“It’s the playoffs” Wentz said. “So you have to ask your leaders to step in and show the younger guys what it takes.”

Logan Conklin had 15 points and seven rebounds. Gunville scored 12.

“Logan was phenomenal,” said Winczewski. “We had a lot of guys standing up.”

With the win, Minot advances to Saturday’s final against the third-seeded Bismarck Demons. The Demons defeated Mandan, 71-70. The Magicians also qualify for the NDHSAA Men’s Basketball State Championship, beginning Thursday, March 10 in Bismarck. The Magicians finished second in the 2021 NDHSAA Tournament losing in the Finals to West Fargo.

“This tournament is a meat grinder” said Winczewski. “If you can walk out of here with a title, you’re extremely excited.”

Minot Haut 75,

Bismarck St. Mary’s 70

Sainte-Marie 30 40 – 70

Minot 36 39 – 75

BISMARCK ST. MARY’S (70): Bader 7 0-0 17, Hinnenkamp 2 0-0 6, Zenker 0 0-0 0, Selensky 3 0-0 6, Willer 0 0-0 0, Schumacher 3 3-3 6, Gross 7 0 -0 14, Fedorchak 5 2-2 13, Shafer 0 0-0 0, Doppler 2 0-0 4, Morman 1 0-0 2, Goettle 1 0-0 2, Gerving 0 0-0 0, Totals: 29 5 -5 70.

MINOT (75): Dissette 9 3-5 21, Gunville 4 0-0 12, Martinez 0 0-0 0, Nygaard 2 2-2 7, Winczewksi 2 0-0 5, Wentz 5 7-8 15, Conklin 7 0 -0 15, total 29 10-14 75.

3-point goals: Gunville 4, Nygaard, Winczewski, Conklin, Bader 3, Hinnenkamp 2, Schumacher, Fedorchak.

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Brian L. Hartfield