The way Bismarck High was wiping away Minot's leads, Caleb Albertson thought he might have left the door open.
With the Magicians hanging on to a two-point cushion with just 11 ticks on the clock, the senior guard hit just one of his two attempts at the free-throw line, giving the Demons ample time to knot the West Region contest.
But Albertson quickly atoned, coming up with a steal on Bismarck's ensuing possession to seal the Magicians' 63-60 win on Tuesday night at Magic City Campus.
Minot High guard Austin Frank leaps to pass between two Bismarck defenders during the Magicians’ win Tuesday at Magic City Campus.
The raucous, almost-at-capacity crowd at MCC saw Minot capture its first regular-season sweep of the Demons since 2006.
"We got a rivalry with Bismarck," Albertson said. "We came out and wanted to kick some butt and we got the job done. We don't sweep them very often."
Albertson and Brandon Van Dusen had 14 points apiece to lead the Magicians in scoring, while Kyle Gerding and Austin Frank chipped in 11 each.
The third-ranked Magicians, who downed the Demons 53-46 in December, led the entire second half after trading leads throughout the first stanza.
Not that the Magicians could ever breathe easy.
Brian Bloms' 3-pointer with just over five minutes remaining made it a 54-47 game - Minot's largest lead of the night - but Bismarck (7-6, 6-4) immediately answered.
Taylor Schafer, the Demons' crafty shooting guard, scored two of his game-high 17 points on a jumper to cut Minot's lead to two with 37 seconds left.
Frank was then fouled in the double bonus and connected on a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game. Bismarck's Josh Seibel scored on a putback with 20 seconds left, but it was as close as the visitors would get.
"When we had to make a play we did," Minot coach Dean Winczewski said. "We missed opportunities, but it never bothered them. That's the sign of a team that's coming together."
Minot (12-2, 10-1) put up a below-its-average 14 attempts from beyond the arc, connecting on five. With big-bodies Colter Hustad, Van Dusen and Gerding, the Magicians liked their chances inside.
The Magicians, who outrebounded the Demons 36-32, generated twice as many points in the paint.
"We didn't come to just yack up 3-pointers," Winczewski said. "We were able to make plays inside. (Van Dusen) did a good job of that."
Albertson, a 5-foot-11 guard, also got in on the high-percentage shots. He paced a key 7-2 run in the second half, scoring six points inside.
"They gave me the driving lanes and I just took advantage of them," Albertson said.
Gerding had another stat-stuffing night for the Magicians, falling just short of a triple double. He had 10 assists and eight rebounds to go with his 11 points and came up with a pair of key free throws down the stretch.
"He's solid," Winczewski said. "He just lines up and makes plays."
Minot plays host to Dickinson on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.