There was little about Beulah on Friday that resembled the No. 1 team in the state.
The Miners ultimately prevailed, 63-53 against Bishop Ryan at the Minot Municipal Auditorium, but there was nothing pretty about the constant turnovers and poor execution offensively.
"We played really lousy," senior Trevor Zacher said. "We were slow. Weren't mentally there, really. ... We just weren't ready to go, I guess."
Beulah senior Cody Nelson goes for a layup against Bishop Ryan’s Jacob Magnuson during the Miners’ 63-53 win at the Minot Municipal Auditorium on Friday.
After beating then-No. 1 North Star and then-No. 6 Four Winds-Minnewaukan in the past week, the defending state champions let Ryan (4-3) hang around. The Lions led 16-15 with five minutes left in the first half before the Miners' size began to play a factor.
Beulah (8-0) closed the stanza on a 10-2 run, turned a few missed shots into second-chance points and went into the locker room up seven.
"I can't recall an offensive rebound," Ryan coach Scott Medalen said. "A lot of that is due to their length. They're athletic, they boxed out well."
Jared Will is the only Lions regular who stands taller than 6-foot-1. But the 6-3 sophomore and his nine points weren't nearly enough to counteract Beulah's size. Zacher, a 6-4 guard, scored 21 and forwards Jesse Hettich (6-3) and Randi Julson (6-2) combined for 23.
Cody Nelson, a 6-3 guard, tallied all nine of his points in the second half.
"We do have a lot of length and long and athletic kids," Beulah coach Jeremy Brandt said. "It's nice to coach those types of kids and they can do a lot of things."
Beulah's spurt continued throughout the first five minutes of the third quarter. A 9-0 stretch widened the gap to 42-25. The Miners extended the margin to 20 before Ryan scored the final five points of the frame.
"That was better. We executed a little better," Zacher said, before venting some more frustration. "We expect more out of ourselves, I guess."
The Miners switched to a zone defense for the fourth quarter, which backfired. Junior point guard Brody Bosch, returning from a one-game absence due to a head injury, sank three 3-pointers and scored 12 of his team-high 21 points in the period.
Ryan got to within 12 with 4:34 to go, but a pair of Zacher free throws and a bucket from Noah Iverson sealed the Lions' fate.
The Lions host TGU at 7:15 p.m. Friday, while Beulah plays a home game against Des Lacs-Burlington on Thursday.