The Bishop Ryan High School girls basketball team is 6-0 and has won games by 58, 43 and 37 points.
Thursday's 75-63 win over Shiloh Christian (2-2) was less comfortable, but the 12-point margin isn't necessarily a bad thing for a team that starts two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior.
"You want to be exposed, so you can go back to practice and work on the things that we need to be sharper on," Ryan coach Julie Stewart said.
Bishop Ryan High School freshman forward Hannah Stewart drives by Shiloh Christian defenders on Thursday at Ryan’s gym. Stewart had a team-high 26 points in the 75-63 win.
Shiloh Christian guard Paige Emmel exposed Ryan's defense, pouring in a career-high 35 points, including five 3-pointers. Emmel scored 27 in the second half and cut Ryan's lead to 58-56 with just under four minutes remaining in the game.
"A lot of (shots) that she took were way outside that we really didn't expect her to take," said Ryan freshman forward Hannah Stewart, the coach's daughter. "They screened a lot for her, so we just needed to switch more on those."
Hannah Stewart led Ryan with 26 points and hit a pair of free throws with 43 seconds left to stretch the Lions' lead back to double digits.
Hannah Stewart and fellow 6-foot-1 freshman Gabbie Bohl struggled to find rhythm in the first half against the much shorter, yet feisty Skyhawks. But 5-1 freshman Maddie Wald provided a spark off the bench, drilling all three of her 3-point tries before the half.
"Every time she hits 3s it really kind of pumps us up," Hannah Stewart said. "She tells us to get her the ball a little more because she also looks inside for us."
Wald's range also forced Shiloh out of its zone and brought Skyhawk defenders closer to the perimeter.
"They left Hannah more open in the post because they knew we had shooters," Wald said.
Emmel said Shiloh keyed off Ryan's turnover-plagued first and fourth quarters to keep the game close, but the Lions' size proved too difficult to counter.
"We really tried to push the ball and get some buckets off their turnovers," Emmel said. "We've never played a team that big before and we had a tough time rebounding tonight."
Bohl finished with 17 and Wald 11.
Ryan plays next on Jan. 6 at home against Dunseith.