Judging by the facial expressions of the Bishop Ryan girls basketball team leaving the team locker room following the game, one would have thought the Lions lost their season opener against Thompson on Friday night.
But that wasn't the case as the top-ranked Lions defeated the Tommies 66-56 at the Minot Municipal Auditorium during the Shootout on the Prairie.
After a slow start in which the Lions led by five at the end of the first quarter, Ryan used its uptempo offense to run past Thompson in the second quarter. Sophomore forward Hannah Stewart scored six of her game-high 19 points in the second and the Lions took a 40-21 halftime lead.
Bishop Ryan sophomore forward Hannah Stewart goes up for a shot against Thompson’s Averi Olson on Friday in the Shootout on the Prairie at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
"I thought we may have had a slow start, but then we really got into our tempo and were really comfortable," Ryan coach Julie Stewart said. "But we need to be able to switch gears and be able to execute in the half court.
Stewart and sophomore forward Gabbie Bohl used their size in the paint to overpower Thompson's interior throughout most of the game. Bohl finished with 17 points, including six in the fourth quarter after Stewart fouled out with about five minutes remaining in the game.
The Lions struggled on both ends of the floor in the second half as the Tommies started to slowly chip away at Ryan's lead.
"We just wanted to play better," Julie Stewart said. "We wanted to be sharper and a little more disciplined in some of the things that we do. But it's a win. A win's a win and anytime you start the season things look a little messy and sloppy."
Bohl echoed coach Stewart's thoughts on the game.
"We sort of let them back in the game and we can't let them do that," she said. "We just have to play hard the entire game."
The Lions' tenacity took a major hit when junior guard Sydney Landsiedel injured her knee at half court early in the third quarter. Landsiedel stayed down for several minutes, grabbing her right knee and putting her hands over her mouth trying to muffle the screams that echoed through a silent auditorium. She eventually had to be carried off with the help of a few staff members and was taken to the hospital for tests.
"The girls are concerned," Julie Stewart said. "I can't say that anything we did or didn't do was affected by that. They wanted to win the game for Sydney. That's what they said in the huddle. They're all really close and their concerned when something like that happens."
Said Bohl: "A teammate's a teammate. You don't want to lose them so it's pretty hard, but we came together and said we have to play for her. We have to get things done because the game's not over yet."
Landsiedel's injury opened the door for Thompson, who cut the deficit to 12 entering the fourth quarter and was within single digits for the first time in the second half. Thompson's Emily Overby knocked down three 3-pointers in the fourth and Shannon Galegher added five of her team-high 18 points in the final frame.
"It's a sad situation anytime somebody get hurt," Thompson coach Jason Brend said. "You don't want it to happen to your team or their team, but our girls held their composure. I thought our intensity really rose in the second half and maybe that was one of the times where it spiked the most.
The Lions had four players in double figures. Senior Quinn Harmon finished with 13 points after scoring 10 in the first half. Junior Anika Rovig netted 10 points for Ryan.
Ryan plays New Town tonight at 8 p.m. at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.