Spectacular shots highlight Bishop Ryan win
Currently sitting at the No. 3 spot in the latest North Dakota Class B Boys Basketball Poll, red-hot Bishop Ryan had their sights set on their tenth consecutive win Friday night as they welcomed a staggered but hungry South Prairie squad for District 12 action.
Successfully hunting down yet another victory to take their current streak to double-digits, the No. 3 Bishop Ryan Lions (11-1 overall, 4-0 District 12) remained perfect in 2023 after capturing a commanding 78-38 win to extend the South Prairie Royals (2-9 overall, 1-4 District 12) losing skid to seven straight games.
Although separated by their team allegiances, the energetic Lions home crowd and the well-traveled Royals fanbase were united in their eager anticipation of the impending hardwood showdown between the Region 6 adversaries.
Kicking off at a frenetic pace, Bishop Ryan needed just two minutes to open up a 9-2 lead on South Prairie, highlighted by a combination of points in the paint via running floaters by senior Brady Feller and a deep corner three by fellow senior Conner Thompson.
While the Royals desperately searched for an answer to the Lions’ offensive onslaught, Bishop Ryan would proceed to orchestrate a 32-2 run throughout the remaining six minutes of opening action, with junior guard Ethan Dobson connecting on the lone bucket of the first quarter for a stymied South Prairie squad.
Two minutes into the second quarter, South Prairie would match their total point production of the first eight minutes of play, as trips to the charity stripe by Dobson, senior guard Gage Olson, and junior guard Drew Klein upped the Royals’ total on the scoreboard to seven team points, though the contributions were unable to put even a scratch on the unstoppable Lions basketball machine.
Fueled by near-perfect offensive efficiency across the starting five and overwhelming dominance in the rebound column, Bishop Ryan continued to build on their virtually exponential momentum heading into halftime, ballooning their lead to almost 40 points and leading the Royals by a score of 50-12 on the scoreboard.
However, as impressive as the Lions’ scoring was up to that point, it was the money-making, four-shot series by youngster J.J. Franks that may have earned him the claim to the biggest baskets of the evening.
Chosen for a chance to participate in the Northern Bottling/Gatorade Halftime Shootout, Franks had just 25 seconds to sink a layup, free throw, three pointer, and half-court shot to leave the game $10,000 richer.
Quickly knocking down the first three legs of the challenge in succession, Franks was left with just enough time for one miracle heave from the half line.
Letting an arrow-straight shot fly from the half-court lion logo, a hard kiss off the center of the backboard square saw the prayer answered, finding its way through the net and bringing all in attendance to their feet with a roar of excitement and jubilant disbelief as Franks walked away with a win of his own.
Coming out for the second half, Bishop Ryan wasted no time picking up where they left off after the first 16 minutes, pounding the ball into the post for a number of high-percentage turnaround layups while locked on with laser precision from deep to swell their already insurmountable advantage to 66-25.
Sending in their bench contributors for a chance at some valuable minutes in preparation for the postseason, both the Lions and Royals notched a slew of last-minute buckets before the horn sounded on Bishop Ryan’s explosive 78-38 victory.
Brady Feller’s 26 points led the way for the Lions on their stat-busting scoring night, accompanied by 15 points for Ramsey Walz, 12 points for Ian Johnson, eight points for Connor Thompson, six points for Jett Lundeen, four points for Christian Lormejuste, three points for Carson Merck, two points for Colton Feller, and a point for Brett McKay.
For South Prairie, Carter Korslien netted a team-high nine points, along with seven points by Ethan Dobson, four points each for Drew Klein and Riley Johnson, three points apiece for Connor Johnson and Cameron Sys, two points each for Josh Groninger, Josiah Bagwell, and Carson Anderson, and one point for Gage Olson.
District 12 play resumes for both teams on Jan. 31, as Bishop Ryan stalks their eleventh straight win in a 7:15 p.m. home tilt against Our Redeemer’s, while South Prairie travels to Glenburn for a tip-off slated for 7:15 p.m.