Des Lacs-Burlington senior guard Mitch Medalen knows a thing or two about the Bishop Ryan boys basketball team.
Before transferring to DL-B this year, Medalen spent his high school career playing in a purple and gold uniform for his father and former Ryan coach Scott Medalen.
In his first game against the Lakers' District 12 rival, Medalen netted 12 points as No. 5 DL-B posted an 80-70 victory against the Lions on Thursday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. Medalen scored 10 points in the first half and was one of four Lakers in double figures.
Des Lacs-Burlington senior Mitch Medalen goes up for a layup in front of Bishop Ryan sophomore Tyler Daws on Saturday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
"There was a little bit of motivation just to play a good game and they did play a good game," Medalen said.
The former Lion wasn't the only Laker to have a breakout game. Senior forward Thomas Steenstrup knocked down five 3-pointers and finished with 16 points and five rebounds. Steenstrup, who usually comes off the bench, started in place of junior forward Eric Knutson, who didn't play due to injury. The 6-foot-3 senior didn't disappoint, hitting his first two 3s in the first quarter.
Steenstrup and Medalen accounted for 16 of DL-B's 39 first-half points.
"We know they're capable and tonight was kind of a breakout night for Thomas Steenstrup," DL-B coach Doug Wagner said. "He got to play more because of an injury. Mitch Medalen, he's just been laying in the weeds. Tonight, the first half was fantastic. He really played some good basketball. That's just exactly what we needed so that we're not always depending on the 'Big Three.' "
The Lions (8-4 overall, 2-2 district) kept DL-B's 'Big Three' of seniors Chris Duke, Tanner Holte and Cole Edwards in check early. The trio had just five points in the first quarter and Duke went without a point until knocking down a pair of free throws with 6:20 left in the first half.
Yet, by the time they got going, the Lakers already had a double-digit lead. DL-B opened the second quarter on an 11-1 run as Holte threw down a thunderous dunk off a steal for the first points of the quarter.
Ryan clawed back with a pair of 3s from senior guard Nick Berentson, who had the arduous task of covering Duke. Senior guard Austin Eggl's layup at the horn pulled the Lions within six at halftime.
Steenstrup knocked down three 3s in the third quarter and DL-B (13-1, 4-0) retook a double-digit lead midway through the frame. Medalen's final bucket gave the Lakers a 53-40 advantage with less than four minutes left in the third.
But DL-B couldn't put the Lions away when they had the chance as Ryan senior guard Brody Bosch caught fire from behind the arc. Bosch hit three straight 3s during a 9-2 run to bring Ryan within 73-67 before foul trouble set in. Four Lions fouled out and Duke hit 6 of 7 from the line in the final minutes.
"We had a couple chances to throw that knockout punch, but we didn't," Wagner said. "Credit Ryan. We just had to slow down a little bit, move the basketball a little bit better, get on their shooters and we were able to keep that lead."
Duke did most of his damage from the charity stripe as the 6-5 guard scored 13 of his 17 points from the line. Holte led the Lakers with 18 points and Edwards had seven before fouling out with 59 seconds left.
"They pose a problem with their physicality for us," Ryan coach Brock Teets said. "Bottom line is we're giving up too many points right now. We have to get better at the defensive end. This is not winning basketball."
Bosch led all scorers with 32 points.
The Lakers travel to No. 2 Rugby tonight and the Lions play at Bottineau on Saturday.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.