Lions rally past Skyhawks for title
FARGO — After spending the entire season as the unanimous No. 1-ranked girls basketball team in North Dakota Class B, Minot Ryan clinched its second-straight state title Saturday.
Its final win, however, did not come easy.
In fact, it was unlike any game top-ranked Ryan had played all year due to the fact that the Lions trailed after the conclusion of the first, second and third quarters.
Ryan grinded out a 59-54 win against No. 3-ranked Bismarck Shiloh in the state tournament championship game at the Fargodome.
“We had a lot of faith in each other, but we have never played in a game like that all season,” Ryan junior forward Hannah Stewart said. “Shiloh did a great job. We were down in all four quarters. There were a couple of times when it was a little iffy, but there never was a doubt that we couldn’t pull it out.”
Stewart — who won tournament’s most valuable player honors for the second year in a row — paced the Lions (28-0) with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The victory is Ryan’s 57th in a row tying Larimore’s state and Class B girls basketball consecutive wins record. Larimore won 57 straight from 2002-04.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Ryan junior forward Gabbie Bohl, who added 15 points and 15 rebounds. “I’m speechless for words to describe how that all happened. We just kept believing. We knew we could pull it out and we kept our composure the entire game. We have been working for this all year and it is an amazing feeling.”
The Lions become the first team to repeat as Class B state champions since Bottineau won three straight titles from 2006-08.
Ryan’s last loss — a 46-45 setback against Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock — came in the quarterfinals of the 2012 state tournament.
There were several stretches Saturday when the streak was in serious jeopardy of reaching No. 57.
Shiloh Christian — which lost to Ryan 77-43 on Dec. 21 — led 13-9 after the first quarter and 26-18 at halftime.
Ryan tied the game twice in the third quarter, but entered the final eight minutes down 39-36.
With five minutes, 54 seconds left Shiloh Christian sophomore guard Jaye Two Bears connected for a 3-pointer to put the Skyhawks up 44-36.
Like it did in last year’s title game against Central Cass, Ryan rallied late to preserve a perfect season.Bohl gave Ryan its first lead since the first quarter getting a put-back layup to fall with 3:22 to play. Shiloh Christian tied it up on its next possession, but Bohl replied with another bucket inside giving Ryan a 50-48 lead. The Lions never trailed after that.
Senior guard Gabby Wilkinson scored 19 points to lead the Skyhawks (25-2).
“I could not be more proud of the team,” Shiloh Christian head coach Jim Petrik said. “We had a lead most of the game and felt good about defensive strategy. We kept their posts away from the rim for three and a half quarters. … In that last four minutes their posts really took it to us and were really hard to guard.”
Minot Ryan 9 18 36 59
Shiloh Christian 13 26 39 54
MINOT RYAN (28-0): Stewart 7 3-8 17, Bohl 6 3-6 15, Rovig 3 4-7 10, Schmidt 3 1-2 9, Wald 2 2-4 6, Leidholt 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 13-27 59.
SHILOH CHRISTIAN (25-2): Wilkinson 9 0-1 19, Two Bears 4 2-2 13, Watson 3 2-2 8, Ulmer 2 3-3 7, Forness 1 0-0 3, Schindler 1 0-0 2, Stevahn 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 7-8 54.
3-pointers: Wilkinson, Two bears 3, Forness, Schmidt 2. Total fouls: MR 12, SC 20. Fouled out: Schindler. Rebounds: MR 37 (Bohl 15), SC 35 (Two Bears 11). Assists: MR 4 (Rovig, Wald 2), SC 6 (Wilkinson, Two Bears 2). Turnovers: MR 14, SC 16.
Minot Ryan: Hannah Stewart (Unanimous, MVP), Gabbie Bohl (Unanimous); Bismarck Shiloh Christian: Jaye Two Bears (Unanimous), Gabby Wilkinson; Central Cass: Faith Dooley (Unanimous); Beach: Hailee Farstveet; Lakota-Edmore: Fallyn Freije (Unanimous); Watford City: Katie Mogen; Thompson: Shannon Galegher; Kidder County: Sadie Rohrich.
Senior athlete of the year
Hailee Farstveet, Beach.
Coach of the year
Jason Brend, Thompson