Bishop Ryan falls in season-opening thriller to Kenmare, 40-38

Photo submitted by Al Christianson Bishop Ryan's Magee Rovig takes it to the rim off a screen during the Lions' 40-38 loss to Kenmare Friday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

After playing lockdown defense all night, the Lions came up one offensive play short of the comeback.

With the exception of an early 7-2 lead in the opening quarter, the Bishop Ryan girls basketball team found itself playing from behind for most of its season-opening game against Kenmare on Friday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

Despite giving the Honkers a scare with a late push in the final two minutes of regulation, the Lions fell heartbreakingly short of a comeback in a 40-38 loss.

“I thought we had some good looks at the end,” Ryan head coach Roger Coleman said. “But it’s still good for us to get in those sorts of pressure situations this early in the season. Hopefully those shots will fall moving forward.”

Trailing 38-31 with 2:05 left in the game, Bishop Ryan’s Sealy Rovig took the ball to the rim and was rewarded with a pair of free throws. The senior calmly knocked the pair down, trimming Kenmare’s lead to five.

After a key stop on the defensive end, the Lions raced down the court and got the ball into the hands of Sidney Lovelace, who made a layup with 1:43 remaining on the clock. Ryan’s defense delivered once more as the team forced its eight turnover of the night on the following Kenmare possession, giving the Lions a chance to tie the game.

“I was really proud of our defensive effort,” Coleman said. “We forced them to turn it over quite a few times, so that’s always good to see.”

After Rovig missed a shot from long range, Lovelace emerged from a scrum with the offensive board and gave her fellow senior a second chance.

This time Rovig capitalized by sinking a corner three that sent the Lions’ bench into a frenzy and knotted the game at 38 apiece with 51 seconds left.

After coming down the court, missing a shot and grabbing an offensive rebound, Kenmare burned its final timeout with 14 seconds remaining. Needing a bucket to avoid overtime, Kenmare head coach Mike Zimmer reached into his bag of tricks.

With the ball being inbounded under the basket, Kenmare’s Marissa Jensen rolled off a screen and made a cut to the rim. She caught the ball in stride and converted on a clean look, giving the Honkers a 40-38 lead with just 12.5 left to play.

“I was really happy with how we executed that (inbound) play,” Zimmer said. “We just wanted to try something (Bishop Ryan) hadn’t seen yet, and we ran it to perfection.”

The Honkers nearly forced a turnover on the following Bishop Ryan possession, tipping a ball out of bounds as a mere 3 seconds separated them from the victory.

The Lions called their final timeout, allowing Coleman to draw up a potential game-winning play. Sophomore Sylvie Kramer inbounded the ball to Rovig at the top of the arc, but she was quickly met by Kenmare’s Taylor Schoemer.

Rovig unloaded the ball to junior Grace Candrian in the corner as precious seconds ticked off the clock. Candrian caught the pass behind the line, turned around and launched a prayer.

The shot sailed left, grazed the rim and bounced out as the buzzer sounded. The Honkers held on.

“Our shots just didn’t go in late,” Candrian said. “But I thought overall we played really hard as a team, and this is just more motivation for us to get better.”

Rovig finished with nine points in the loss. Kenmare’s Kate Zimmer led the way with 18 points in a win that’s as strong a start to the season as Zimmer and company could’ve hoped for.

“This is a good experience for us,” Zimmer said. “Every win is important because they’re so tough to come by. I was really happy with our effort.”

Ryan will look to rebound today when it takes on Midway-Minto at 4:45 p.m. Kenmare will follow that matchup with a game against Westhope-Newburg at 6:30 p.m.

Justin Martinez covers Minot High School and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.