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Lions fend off Lakers 61-48

Ryan Ladika/MDN Ian Johnson, 11, notched 14 points and drilled a pair of three-pointers in the Lions’ Monday night win.

Through their first nine games of the 2021-22 season, the Bishop Ryan Lions’ offense is becoming a headache for their opposition.

With Jett Lundeen’s final two free throws of the Lions’ 61-48 road victory over the Des Lacs-Burlington Lakers Monday evening, Ryan had officially reached at least 60 points in six of its first nine games, with their latest effort bolstered by a 21-point first quarter.

“I think a lot of teams are just focused on Brady Feller. They haven’t realized that we have four other guys on the floor that can score the ball just like him, which is really nice,” said Ryan head coach Broderick Bosch. “When teams take him away our other guys are kind of excited that they get to show what they can do a little bit. I think that’s what makes us a dangerous team.”

It was Feller’s supporting cast that ignited the early fireworks on Ryan’s (6-3) offensive end, with Feller notching just two of the Lions’ first 21 points.

Des Lacs-Burlington (3-7) cracked the scoreboard first with a pair of Rylan Olson free throws, and Joshua Will, Connor Reindel and Brady Feller combined to tally the Ryan’s first eight points of the night around a Paxton Ystaas triple.

After Braylon Fisher added a two-point shot of his own to pull the Lakers to within one with 4:38 on the clock, Ryan clamped down on Des Lacs-Burlington, authoring a 13-6 run to conclude the opening quarter with a 21-13 advantage. Ian Johnson and Ramsey Walz paced the Lions during that span with a combined nine points.

Olson followed a quarter-opening Feller triple with a trio of makes from the charity stripe to keep the Lakers to within eight with 7:18 on the clock, but the Lions’ defense was stifling.

Ryan held Des Lacs-Burlington to just three more field goals the remainder of the half while rattling off 13 points of their own, on the back of Reindel’s six and three more from Will to bring a 37-22 lead into the locker room.

The Lakers came alive in the second half, tearing off an 11-6 stretch in the first 5:04 of the third quarter. Four made free throws by Fisher and Olson’s first make from beyond the arc brought the Lakers to within 10.

Olson answered six more Ryan points with the second and third of his three straight three-point shots to keep Des Lacs-Burlington’s deficit at 39-49 entering the final eight minutes of play. Feller and Johnson each notched a triple in the period for the Lions.

Riding the energy of a boisterous crowd, the Lakers pressed on in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Fisher and Ty Hughes produced four points out the break to trim Ryan’s lead to six, and Ystaas later responded to a Lundeen triple with one of his own to keep Des Lacs-Burlington within seven with 3:20 to play.

The Lions once again stiffened on the defensive end, yielding only an Olson free throw the remainder of the game. A Feller field goal and free throw conversion following a Lakers foul and two Lundeen free throws sealed the win for the Lions.

“We’re a young team; we needed a game like that. Especially in our district against a very good team,” Bosch added. “(Des Lacs-Burlington)’s young like us, and I think they are improving every game. They gave us a very tough battle that we needed. It’s going to be tough if we see them again to do that twice in a row.”

Feller and Johnson each recorded 14 points in Ryan’s winning effort, followed by Reindel’s 11 and Will’s nine. Olson tallied a game-high 23 points and three made three-pointers. The Lions’ next contest is slated for Jan. 20 at Surrey, while Des Lacs-Burlington will travel to Lewis & Clark Berthold Jan. 21.

“That’s always fun, especially for the kids. I was getting into it,” Bosch said of the game’s atmosphere. “It’s awesome when small towns and Class B schools can support like that. When gyms get loud like that, that’s why you play, that’s why you coach, that’s what it’s all about.”

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