Ryan BBB outlasts TGU, wins 52-41

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN Bishop Ryan freshman forward Conner Thompson prepares to shoot the ball in the first quarter of Saturday's game against TGU in Minot. The Lions earned a 52-41 victory over the Titans.

Although Bishop Ryan’s Brady Feller made a game-winning half-court shot against Kenmare on Tuesday, the freshman forward wanted to leave his achievement in the past.

Feller scored a team-high 15 points as Ryan (3-4) worked past a persistent Towner/Granville/Upham (4-4) squad for a 52-41 victory on Saturday. The contest went nearly two minutes without a point, but the Lions found their groove and dictated the pace.

“We’re not very big,” Feller said. “We have to box out and go get the boards. We have to play defense, be scrappy. We’re trying to focus more on the (fundamentals) in practice and in games. If we can do the little things right, we’ll do pretty well this year.”

The Lions controlled the glass in the first half. Neither team found much success shooting the ball, but Ryan crashed the boards and caused trouble for TGU.

Ryan’s hard work paved the way to a 30-23 halftime advantage. The Titans needed to play catch-up throughout the game.

“Defensively, our guards got after it at times,” Ryan head coach Jeremy Feller said. “We’re looking to take charges again, finally. We’re looking to get on the floor. We’ve been practicing the little things. In our losses, we’ve been back on our heels and didn’t really get up into (opponents). Defensively, we got more engaged.”

In the second half, the action became a bit chippy. Scrambles for loose balls became the norm.

TGU did not find the lead, but kept hanging around. Tensions — and technical fouls — flared.

“We’re trying to keep that next-play mentality,” Jeremy Feller said. “That’s what we tell our kids. In life, in basketball, no matter what happens in the past, you can’t control. I said, ‘Whether you dribble it off your foot, you get knocked in the head or somebody’s yelling at you, you just need to find a way to clear your head and compete until the next play.’ It’s a great life lesson, and hopefully it’s something we can do a little bit better job of going forward. We got rattled, but with as young as we are, that’s bound to happen.”

The Titans brought the contest within four, but the Lions’ stout defense kept TGU in check. Ryan led 41-34 after three quarters and allowed just seven points in the final frame.

“We can’t slack early on,” Brady said. “We can’t get behind. We’ve just got to do the fundamentals and play a good game.”

Ryan freshman forward Conner Thompson added 14 points, while junior guard Jaxon Feller chipped in with nine.

TGU junior forward Cody Frounfelter paced the Titans with 15 points. TGU shot 13-for-21 on free throws, while Ryan went 16-for-28 from the charity stripe.

“We’re trying to learn a lot of our roles,” TGU head coach Wade Schock said. “We’re only bringing back two kids who had much varsity experience last year. Everybody is having to step up to that next level. We’ve got kids out there who have some talent. We’ll just try to find five guys we can play together who make things happen.”

Both teams will play again on Tuesday. Ryan will welcome Velva (5-2) to the Lions’ Den at 7 p.m., while TGU will travel to Des Lacs-Burlington (4-3).

Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.