DLB stifles Bishop Ryan for 43-28 win

Al Christianson/Special to the MDN DLB junior Sara Bonn (23) pulls up for a mid-range jumper during the Lakers’ 43-28 win over Bishop Ryan Friday in the semifinals of the District 12 girls basketball tournament at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

Defense, defense and more defense.

That was the mindset the No. 2-seeded Des Lacs-Burlington girls basketball team had going into its showdown with No. 3 Bishop Ryan on Friday with a spot in the Region 6 Tournament and a trip to the District 12 championship on the line.

Scoring a bucket against the Lakers was like pulling teeth for the Lions, as DLB put on a defensive clinic en route to the 43-28 win.

“Our girls are a defensive team,” DLB head coach Tracy Bonn said. “Our defense sets the tone for our offense, so when we came out tonight right away and created havoc, it really allowed us to relax a little bit and run our offense.”

DLB came out of the gate laser focused in the first quarter, holding Ryan to just one free throw from freshman Sydney Upton in the first four minutes.

Meanwhile, the Lakers got the ball rolling on offense with a strong start from Sara Bonn and Brooklyn Benno. The duo each scored four points to combine for all of DLB’s first eight points.

But Ryan found its groove at the end of the first quarter and launched a 7-2 run to trim DLB’s lead to 12-8 at the break. For the Lakers, the run was all too familiar.

“(Ryan) is a team where you can’t count them out,” Tracy Bonn said. “We had a nice double-digit lead against them when we played in the regular season and they made a run to cut it to three, so we knew they had that capability. We just had to keep playing.”

DLB shook off the run and went back to playing lockdown defense. The Lakers held the Lions to just three points in the second quarter to take a slim 16-11 edge into halftime.

After struggling to shake the resilient Lions in the first half, DLB pulled away in the third quarter. Sophomore Ava Wille led the charge by draining a pair of long-range bombs in what was a 14-point quarter for the Lakers.

DLB also kept up its defensive intensity and held Ryan to four points to build a comfortable 30-15 lead entering the final frame.

Once again, Ryan tried to claw its way back into the game. The Lions managed to trim the DLB lead to nine points with three minutes remaining, but time wasn’t on their side. The Lakers went on to earn the 43-28 victory.

Junior Grace Candrian led the Lions with eight points in the loss, followed by seven points apiece from Upton and senior Sealy Rovig.

Although Friday’s result isn’t what Ryan had hoped for, the team will look to keep its season alive when it takes on No. 4 Glenburn today at 4 p.m. with a trip to the Region 6 Tournament on the line.

“I told (my team) that they can hang their heads for about five minutes and then it’s on to Glenburn,” Ryan head coach Roger Coleman said. “I certainly don’t want to be done coaching, and they certainly don’t want to be done playing, so we just have to rise up and get the win.”

Sara Bonn led DLB with a game-high 13 points, and Kyley Lauf had 11 points. For the Lakers, the team is beginning to hit its stride at the perfect time.

“I think a big part of (the win) was our teamwork,” Sara Bonn said. “We communicated well and we used our clock well. It’s nice to know that we keep going up during tournament time.”

Now DLB will face its biggest test yet as it takes on No. 1 MLS today at 7 p.m. in the District 12 championship.

The Lakers will look to push the Mavericks to their limits once again, as DLB is the only District 12 team MLS didn’t beat by at least 20 points during the regular season. The Mavericks narrowly beat the Lakers on Jan. 4 by a score of 32-28.

“We’re pretty excited to play (MLS) again,” Sara Bonn said. “We were yelling about it in the locker room (after the Ryan game). The game plan is going to be the same: keep the defense up and play as a team. Hopefully we’ll come out with a win.”

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