Can’t keep up

Bishop Ryan builds early lead, knocks off Aggies in Velva

Alex Eisen/MDN Velva-Sawyer forward Hunter Brabandt (left) and Bishop Ryan forward Cameron Erickson (right) chase after a loose ball in a Class B boys basketball game played Tuesday night in Velva.

VELVA — Fast starts on the road is what every team wishes for.

The Bishop Ryan boys basketball team built its lead early Tuesday night against Class B Region 6 rival Velva-Sawyer and the Aggies couldn’t recover. The Lions (5-1) cruised to a 29-point victory, 76-47.

“It was a group effort and that’s what we are as a team,” Ryan coach Brock Teets said. “We are not a one or two-person team, we are a team that has to play nine, 10 kids and we got them all in (the game) tonight. Everybody contributed on the offensive end.”

Nine different Ryan players scored, led by sophomore guard Ben Bohl with 20 points and junior forward Anthony Vetter with 18 points.

A combination of bad ball control by Velva-Sawyer (5-3) and the Lions getting their hands in the passing lanes, allowed Ryan to jump out to a 14-6 lead midway through the first quarter.

“They took advantage of some of the errors we made and we couldn’t quite close the gap,” Aggies coach Tyler Ystaas said. “I was quite proud that we kept the (deficit) quite similar, and played them even throughout until the fourth quarter. But, that start was really huge. A big tone setter.”

The teams traded three points at the end of the opening quarter in exciting fashion. Bohl used a crafty behind the back dribble to create a Lions’ fast break, which eventually led to a 3-pointer by junior Caden Shean. While Aggies sophomore Hayden Lee completed a three-point play to cap the quarter, 20-13.

Lee had a team-high 15 points for Velva-Sawyer. Hunter Brabandt (12 points) and Nickolas Effertz (11 points) also finished in double figures for the Aggies.

Velva-Sawyer went into a zone defense during stretches of the second quarter and was punished twice by Ryan senior Eli Stewart, who buried two deep 3-pointers a couple feet behind the line. Stewart finished with nine points, all on 3-pointers.

Vetter made his presence known down low with consecutive baskets inside to extend the Lions’ lead to 44-22. Ryan went into halftime up 46-27.

“It’s always good to get off to fast start,” Teets said. “I thought we came out and did a good job offensively by moving the basketball. Jake Bohl kind of set the tone for us early with some scoring and then it spread from there.”

Jake Bohl had six points in the first quarter and finished with nine points for the game.

The Aggies hung with Ryan in the third period until late. The Lions used a 5-0 run in the final two minutes to outscore Velva-Sawyer, 14-10, in the quarter.

“We’ve got to play together and find some chemistry,” Ystaas said. “The biggest thing is we are just kind of getting used to playing with each other. A lot of the guys are playing together and haven’t played with each other in the past. The good news is they are working hard, they are good kids and we are going to figure it out. But, it’s going to take some time.”

The Aggies matched the Lions’ halftime total of 46 points with two and half minutes left in regulation. A free throw from Effertz pushed the final score line to 76-47.

Despite the rather dominating performance, Teets pointed out the Lions’ defense still needs to keep improving.

“We are a little slow anticipation wise defensively, and our help side has to be there a little bit sooner,” he said. “Just a lot of little things. And as we get further down the road, it’s going to show up in the big games. The good thing is we know about it – we know what we need to fix – and we will just go back to work tomorrow.”

Both teams have home Region 6 games up next on Friday. Ryan faces Surrey High School at 7:15 p.m. while Velva-Sawyer takes on Bottineau High School at 7:15 p.m.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.