Ryan, Berthold survive region qualifier thrillers

Justin Martinez/MDN Bishop Ryan’s Sydney Upton goes up for the two-foot shot during the Lions’ 53-48 win over Glenburn Saturday in a region qualifier game at Minot Municipal Auditorium.

With just two spots in the Region 6 Tournament available and four teams battling, fireworks ensued.

Day 3 of the District 12 girls basketball tournament at Minot Municipal Auditorium kicked off with a pair of thrillers, as Bishop Ryan, Glenburn, Lewis & Clark-Berthold and Our Redeemer’s fought to keep their seasons alive.

Here’s how the showdowns shaped out:

Bishop Ryan 53, Glenburn 48

The opening game between No. 3 Bishop Ryan and No. 4 Glenburn proved to be a nail biter, as both teams refused to surrender. After trailing nearly the entire game, the Lions opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to knot the score at 40 apiece with six minutes left.

Justin Martinez/MDN Berthold’s Toni Hamilton rises above the Knights’ defense for a 53-49 win Saturday in a region qualifier game at Minot Municipal Auditorium.

Now up 48-46, Ryan’s Grace Candrian came through. The junior pulled up without any hesitation and drilled her second three of the quarter, despite having a pair of Panthers in her air space, to give Ryan a 51-46 edge with two minutes remaining.

Candrian helped complete the comeback a minute later by calmly sinking a pair of free throws, and the Lions earned a 53-48 victory.

“It was just a relentless effort from our girls,” Ryan head coach Roger Coleman said. “We just wanted to get after it (to start the fourth quarter), and I’m so proud of them for fighting the way they did.”

Glenburn’s Sierra Hansen finished with a team-high 19 points in the loss, while Candrian led the Lions with a game-high 20 points to send her team to the Region 6 Tournament.

“Lately I’ve just been thinking to myself ‘I can do it,’ and my team has supported me the whole time,” Candrian said. “We’re very excited (to advance).”

Lewis & Clark-Berthold 53, Our Redeemer’s 49

Not to be outdone, the second region qualifier game between No. 5 Lewis & Clark-Berthold and No. 6 Our Redeemer’s also came down to the wire.

With her team down 46-43 midway through the fourth quarter, Berthold’s Abby Simons took over. The senior drilled back-to-back three-pointers and took it to the rim for a layup on the following possession in what was a personal 8-0 run to give her team a 51-46 advantage with two minutes left.

Our Redeemer’s Maya Vibeto drained a three-pointer with 45 seconds left to cut the deficit to two points, but Berthold went 2-for-4 from the charity stripe down the stretch to hold on for the 53-49 win.

“We decided that we had to get going,” Berthold head coach Denver Deaver said. “We started playing better defense, and we started boxing out better. At the end of the day, a win is a win. I’m just proud of the girls for battling and finding a way to come out on top.”

ORCS senior Tessa Olson finished with a team-high 17 points in the loss, while Simons led the Bombers with a monstrous 29 points on a night where the senior surpassed the 1,500-point mark for her high school career in the second quarter.

“I couldn’t do it without my team,” Simons said. “I’m really blessed to get to play basketball, and it’s just a great feeling to get that goal in my career. I can’t wait for (the region tournament).”

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