Ryan routs Velva after a rare quick start

Al Christianson/Special to the MDN Ryan senior guard Mason Hedberg (5) rises up and makes a 3-pointer over Velva defender Adam Schepp (22) in a Class B boys basketball game played Tuesday evening in Velva.

VELVA — The Lions scored the first dozen points, senior guard Mason Hedberg couldn’t be contained from deep and the No. 9-ranked Bishop Ryan boys basketball team rolled to a 70-45 road victory over Velva Tuesday evening.

The Lions (6-2) didn’t mess around and exerted their dominance early and often against the Aggies (5-3) — something Ryan hadn’t done a lot so far this season.

“We haven’t really got off to good starts this year and we have been letting a lot teams that I don’t think are as good as us, hang with us for too long,” Hedberg said. “So, it was good for us to do that. But, we also need to learn how to execute down the stretch once we get a lead and put teams away.”

Hedberg made three triples in the first quarter and had 13 of his game-high 26 points in the first eight minutes.

Ryan was already up 20 points, 27-7, nine minutes and 30 seconds into the contest.

“We have been preaching that our starts have kind of been a sore spot to start this season,” Ryan head coach Jeremy Feller said. “That was a focal point in making ourselves better. So, it was definitely nice to get a big lead, especially with basketball being a game of runs. They got their (run) in the second half a little bit.”

When Hedberg wasn’t knocking down 3-pointers, fellow senior guard Ben Bohl was getting to the rim. Bohl racked up 21 points with two 3-pointers on nine made field goals and sunk a free throw.

The Lions had a commanding lead at halftime, 44-13. It was back to the drawing board for the Aggies.

“It was 0-0 to me,” Velva head coach Isaac Sondrol said. “More than likely, you aren’t going to come back and beat them in that situation. But, win the second half and we did. I was proud of that effort. Bishop Ryan and Rugby are the best two teams in the region. We got to keep finding out who we are, so we can play with them in March.”

The Aggies managed to fight back in the second half with a full-court press and got Ryan out of their offensive rhythm.

“We got sped up a little bit,” Feller said. “We haven’t been pressed a whole lot this year. We took a timeout and talked about how the press sometimes doesn’t get a steal, but it gets you into a bad shot. We took too many bad shots. I thought we slowed down finally, but we just needed to execute some of our zone plays better.”

Velva outscored Ryan in both the third (16-11) and fourth (16-15) quarters. But, it was too little, too late.

“They got hot and we didn’t,” Sondrol said. “Our message early was that we had to match everything that they did in the first half and we didn’t. We did in the second half. The second half we came out and looked how we are supposed to look. First half we didn’t.

“Bohl and Hedberg are awesome and we know that. They showed that and we kind of got kicked in the teeth. At least we rebounded and never gave up.”

Velva was led by senior forward Hayden Lee with 13 points, who was also responsible for scoring all four of the Aggies’ first quarter points on a pair of post moves inside. Sophomore guard Gage Florence wasn’t far behind with 12 points for the Aggies.

Besides Hedberg and Bohl, Chinaza Udekwe also finished in double figures for Ryan with 12 points.

Next up, the Lions host Des Lacs-Burlington in their first District 12 contest of the season at 7:15 p.m. Friday inside the Minot Auditorium.

Velva will kick off District 11 play at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Bottineau in Velva.

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