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Tom Mix, Published March 21 2013

Undefeated Minot Ryan survives Benson County in Class B girls BB quarterfinals

FARGO – Benson County threw its best punch at Minot Ryan on Thursday night, but the Lions’ state title hopes are still alive and their undefeated season remains intact.

Minot Ryan posted a 58-53 win over Benson County during the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B state girls basketball tournament at the Fargodome.

On three separate occasions during the fourth quarter, the Wildcats grabbed a lead over the No. 1-ranked Lions, but never were able to pull away.

The Lions (25-0) advance to play No. 4-ranked Thompson in the semifinals at approximately 8:15 p.m. today.

Benson County’s Katelynn Engh hit a 3-pointer with 7 minutes, 17 seconds remaining to give the No. 6-ranked Wildcats a 41-39 lead. Engh’s basket marked the first time Benson County led in the game and the first time this season Minot Ryan had trailed in the fourth quarter.

“Any close game like that it is always going to be nerve-racking,” Minot Ryan junior guard Anika Rovig said. “Coach called a timeout and cooled us down. She told us ‘depend on your defense and your offense will follow.’ ”

The Lions roared back later in the fourth and rattled off a key 9-0 run to regain the lead. Rovig scored five of the nine points.

“She had a nice demeanor tonight,” Minot Ryan head coach Julie Stewart said of Rovig. “She was really confident and comfortable with what we trying to do.”

Hannah Stewart led the Lions with 22 points and 12 rebounds.

Turnovers plagued the Lions all game. Minot Ryan committed 20 turnovers. Benson County gave the ball away 19 times.

Both teams combined for 25 turnovers in the first half. Despite its poor ball handling, Minot Ryan led 26-16 at halftime.

The third quarter was when Benson County made its move. The Wildcats put together a 10-0 run during the third quarter and got to with one point of the Lions four times.

Minot Ryan has now won 27 consecutive games which is the longest active winning streak in the state.

MR 15 26 39 58

BC 7 16 38 53

MINOT RYAN (25-0): Stewart 10-15 2-4 22, Rovig 7-10 2-5 18, Bohl 2-6 7-10 11, Harmon 0-2 4-6 4, Leidholt 1-4 1-2 3. Totals: 20-39 16-27, 58.

BENSON COUNTY (24-2): A. Jorgenson 6-11 3-3 17, Eberle 6-14 0-0 12, Schwanke 4-18 3-3 11, Engh 3-4 1-2 10, M. Jorgenson 0-1 3-6 3. Totals: 19-54 10-14 53.

3-pointers: A. Jorgenson 2, Engh 3, Rovig 2. Total fouls: BC 19, MR 10. Fouled out: Schwanke. Rebounds: BC 24 (Eberle 8), MR 29 (Stewart 12). Assists: BC 8 (Schwanke, Engh, Sears 2), MR 12 (Rovig 5). Steals: BC 8 (A. Jorgenson, Schwanke 3), MR 16 (Bohl 6). Turnovers: BC 19, MR 20.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562