BISMARCK — The Jamestown Blue Jays are on the precipice of something big thanks to Dawson Douty’s bank-shot 3-pointer.
Douty’s basket from the top of the key with 1 minutes and 58 seconds remaining gave Jamestown the lead for good and lifted the unbeaten Blue Jays to a 55-52 semifinal win over Bismarck Century in the North Dakota Class A boys state basketball tournament at the Bismarck Event Center.
Jamestown (26-0) will play Fargo Davies in the championship game with chance to become the first team since Fargo North in 2002 to win a state title with a perfect record.
It wasn’t easy. After seeing their lead disappear on Stevie Kraljic’s two free throws with 3:32 left, the Jays struggled to get back on top. It wasn’t until Douty threw up his bomb from straight on that Jamestown had the lead for good.
All Century (17-9) could muster down the stretch was four free throws. Nevertheless, they had a good look to tie the game but Bryce Auck’s open 3-pointer as time ran out went in and out.
“How many times do you see that last shot go in and why are we leaving that person wide open, I don’t know,” Jamestown coach Jacoby Lloyd said. “We played at their pace and they did a really good job of taking us out of our stuff.”
Mason Walters had a big second half for the Blue Jays. He scored 12 of his 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Boden Skunberg added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The defending state champion Patriots were bidding for a third straight appearance in the state title game. They lost to Minot 56-42 in 2017 and beat West Fargo Sheyenne 63-56 last season.
Treyton Mattern carried much of the offensive load for the Patriots. He finished with 31 points and seven boards. Cade Feeney chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds.
Jamestown led 10-9 at the midpoint of the first half. Skunberg had scored six straight points, including the go-ahead bucket with 12:06 to play to offset Mattern’s nine points. The pair finished 16 and 11 points, respectively, in the first half.
Mattern’s short jumper from underneath the basket with nine seconds left in half pulled the Patriots within 28-27 at halftime. The half featured eight lead changes and two ties.
Jamestown had a chance to distance itself during a prolonged Century slump to start the second half. But a few free throws and an exchange of baskets left the Jays with just a 37-31 lead. That evaporated quickly when Feeney and Mattern strung together six points to tie it 38-38 with 8:14 left.
Mattern went 4-for-5 from the line in the last 27 seconds but the Patriots also missed two shots. Jamestown hung on by making 5 of 8 free throws.
Fargo Davies is the next thing standing in the way of history.
“They’ve been super impressive this tournament,” Lloyd said of Davies. “We’ve got a tall task on our hands. They are athletes.”
Half: Jamestown 28, Century 27
Century: Auck 2, Mattern 31, Kraljic 2, Feeney 11, Stuart 4, Leingang 2.
Jamestown: Douty 5, Lunzman 2, Skunberg 17, Kallenbach 4, Lamp 4, Walter 19, Wegenast 2, Moser 2.