Bishop Ryan wraps up District 12 with victory over Lakers

Garrick Hodge/MDN Des Lacs-Burlington's Eddie White Bear (14) is guarded by Bishop Ryan's Chinaza Udekwe (22) during a boys high school basketball game Friday at the Minot Auditorium.

The road to winning District 12 will go through the Bishop Ryan boys basketball team.

Ryan, ranked No. 7 in the state, secured a perfect season in district play (7-0) after dismantling Des Lacs-Burlington 76-52 Friday at the Minot Auditorium. The Lions will be the No. 1 seed in the District 12 Tournament beginning Feb. 23.

“Our first goal this season was to win the conference outright,” Bishop Ryan coach Jeremy Feller said. “But after the game we talked about forgetting about that and moving on to goal number two, winning the District Tournament. We have to find a way to refocus, because everyone is going to come at us a little harder the second time.”

The Lions ran out to a 22-15 lead after the first quarter, but the Lakers made a run of their own early in the second. DLB cut the deficit to 26-23 after John Koronka banked in a 3-pointer at the 5-minute mark in the second quarter.

But every time the Lakers crept closer, the Lions answered. DLB couldn’t halt Ryan’s momentum late in the quarter and let a four-point deficit turn into nine, trailing 37-28 at halftime.

“I thought we had poor shot selection and that we could have worked the ball around a lot better,” DLB coach Tyler Ystaas said. “With not having good shot selection combined with Ryan’s ability to rebound, they started to pull away. We really feel we need to use our speed better and have better tempo from the half court.”

Ryan ended any chance of a DLB comeback with a 9-2 run opening the third quarter, highlighted by 6-foot-5 center Jacob Lizotte rattling off a 3-pointer that bounced on the rim twice to give the Lions a 46-30 lead at the 5:09 mark. The Lions outscored the Lakers 19-11 in the quarter and led 56-39 entering the fourth.

“I think we played well defensively,” Feller said. “Basketball is a game of runs obviously, but we played well. We moved the ball well in transition and took what DLB gave to us. Sometimes we make up our minds about what we’re going to do instead of taking what the defense gives us, so that was nice to see.”

Ryan outscored DLB 20-13 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.

Forward Anthony Vetter led the Lions with 21 points, shooting 9-of-14 from the floor while grabbing nine rebounds. Mason Hedberg chipped in 19, while guard Ben Bohl added 17 in the win. The Lions shot 55 percent from the floor and 5-of-13 from beyond the arc and outrebounded DLB 37-22 in the victory.

DLB shot 36 percent from the floor and 4-of-16 beyond the arc in the loss. Eddie White Bear led the Lakers with 15 points, while Josh Knutson scored 14.

Bishop Ryan (14-2) is back in action at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday in a road matchup against Westhope/Newburg, while DLB (9-5) faces Nedrose at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at Nedrose High School.

“We have an unfortunate schedule of two games in almost three weeks,” Feller said. “We need to find a way to stay sharp in practice. Hopefully it’s good because we can rest, but hopefully we’re not too rusty.”

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge.