GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lions down Lakota-Edmore 64-45
FARGO — The last time undefeated Minot Ryan faced Fallyn Freije, she went off for 45 points against the defending state-champion Lions.
That didn’t happen Thursday; 5-foot-5 Maddie Wald stood in the way of that.
The junior guard had the responsibility of being the primary defender on Freije in the Lions’ zone defense. Freije still scored 19 points, but Ryan rolled to a 64-45 win against Lakota-Edmore in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B girls high school basketball tournament.
To put that 45-point game by the 6-foot Freije into perspective, other than that 72-57 win against the Raiders in December, no other team has scored more than 45 against Ryan this season.
“We weren’t very smart the last time we played them,” Ryan coach Julie Stewart said. “We left (Freije) alone too much. You can’t do that against a player of her caliber.
“We did a better job on her tonight. We had Maddie Wald on her. She’s only 5-5, but she’s very smart, she gets good position and she’s an energizer bunny. She just goes, goes, goes. And other girls were helping”
For the Raiders, a chance to upset the top-ranked Lions was more about balance than a repeat of a big performance by Freije, an all-state pick each of the past two seasons. But that balance was absent — Freije had 19 points, Shaye Ronningen 10 and the rest of the Raiders scored a total of 16.
“We didn’t expect (45 from Freije) again,” L-E coach Duane Connell said. “Really, we didn’t want it.
“Against a team that has won 55 straight games, you need everybody to step up. That’s what we’ve done when we’ve been successful. But we didn’t have that.”
Minot Ryan took control early. The Lions scored the game’s first six points en route to a 16-5 lead at the first quarter break. They expanded that to 33-17 at halftime. The Lions maintained a lead ranging from 14 to 21 points throughout the final two quarters.
Against a Ryan defense that has held opponents to less than 40 points in 19 of its last 20 games entering the state tournament, that 16-point halftime advantage was daunting.
“It’s difficult to score a lot against those long arms tipping passes and blocking shots,” Connell said.
Those long arms belong to 6-foot-3 Ryan juniors Hannah Stewart (25 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block) and Gabbie Bohl (22 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals).
“They’ve consistently done that all year,” Julie Stewart said. “They’re athletic. And they share the ball so well.”
Ryan improved to 26-0 while dropping the Raiders to 18-7.