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Lakers GBB rides out Ryan’s press, earns eighth straight win

Al Christianson/Special to the MDN Des Lacs-Burlington freshman MacKenzie Rist (3) drives into the lane against Bishop Ryan in a District 12 girls basketball game played Thursday evening at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

Facing full-court pressure late in the contest, the Des Lacs-Burlington girls basketball team had to claw and crawl its way to an eighth straight victory.

The Lakers (14-2, 6-1 District 12), despite giving up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, managed to escape Minot with a 38-35 win Thursday night against Bishop Ryan (7-9, 4-3 District 12) at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

The loss snapped the Lions’ five-game winning streak. But, Ryan certainly didn’t surrender without a drawn out fight.

“It was an amazing effort. Our fourth quarter was super intense,” Ryan head coach Roger Coleman said. “We pressed and I told them, looking back, that was probably something I should have adjusted to earlier. I didn’t think our press would give them that much trouble.”

The Lakers couldn’t prevent a 37-23 lead in the fourth quarter from slowly disappearing.

The full-court press displayed by the Lions got DLB flustered.

“Ball pressure and the traps, we couldn’t see through them to make a good pass,” DLB head coach Tracy Bonn said. “Then, when we did make a pass, we didn’t make them strong enough. We just got frazzled.”

A balanced inside-and-out offense allowed the Lakers to build up a 29-18 lead at halftime.

DLB sophomore center Brooklyn Benno, who finished with 12 points, even sunk a long 2-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half.

Leading all scorers was DLB senior Kyley Lauf with 18 points (15 points came in the first half), which included three triples.

“I thought we had a really nice balance of crashing to the rim, (and) taking good shots — didn’t hit a lot of our outside shots — but it was good shot selection for the most part,” Bonn said.

Ryan stuck around in the first half with Maya Wald, Grace Candrian and Sydney Upton each hitting 3-pointers.

“We had some troubles scoring,” Coleman said about Ryan’s first half. “(DLB) is really good defensively, and they get after it. We still had good looks. Also, at times, our help-side (defense) kind of slacked off and gave them some easy buckets.”

But, it took pure desperation in the fourth quarter that help the Lions rally.

While the Lakers struggled to maintain possession of the ball, Ryan got to the free throw line and Wald made a critical 3-pointer to cut DLB’s lead to 37-33 off a 10-0 run.

The Lions outscored DLB, 12-3, in the fourth quarter.

Ryan was able to press hard due to a lack of fouls in the second half. DLB wasn’t in the bonus until there was only a minute remaining.

Lauf missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1.7 seconds remaining, giving Ryan a full-court heave to tie the game at 38-38.

It didn’t have enough power behind it, and the ball bounced neared the three-point arc on the other side of the court.

“Like I told her, ‘If that was on our floor, it might have had a chance,'” Coleman said about the final desperation shot. “It would have been an extra few feet, but it was a heck of heave at least.”

Nonetheless, the Lakers had survived.

“You always have to take your wins and just be happy for the W,” Bonn said. “But, we are disappointed in the way we handled the final few minutes of this game. The girls came out fiery and energetic to start the game, but we just couldn’t handle the pressure at the end.”

Ryan was led in scoring by Wald (13 points), Upton (9) and Candrian (7).

DLB closes out the regular season Monday evening at No. 8-ranked Rugby. Ryan has a pair of non-district games remaining against Parshall on the road (Jan. 31) and Dickinson Trinity at home (Feb. 2) before the District 12 Tournament takes place Feb. 7-9 at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

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

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