Lions get the best of Wolves
By Neal A. Shipman
Two of the top Class B girls basketball teams in western North Dakota went head-to-head on Dec. 22, as the Watford City girls basketball team took on Minot Bishop Ryan, the two-time defending State Class B Champions.
The Wolves, who entered the contest with an unblemished 4-0 record, stayed with the Lions for the first half of play, as Watford City posted a 20-16 first quarter lead over Bishop Ryan.
“We came out aggressively and played well the first quarter,” stated John Zenz, Wolves’ head coach. “But we started to get ourselves in foul trouble, which plagued us the rest of the first half.”
The Lions soon proved why they have not seen a loss in the last two seasons of play, as Bishop Ryan outscored the Wolves, 15-6, in the second quarter of action to post a five-point, 31-26, halftime lead.
“We struggled to score in the second quarter as we tallied only six points to their 15,” stated Zenz. “At halftime, I felt like we were in a decent spot considering three of our starters missed a good share of the second quarter due to foul trouble.”
The Lions extended their lead to 24 points in the third quarter and then were able to coast to a 74-53 win.
“We hoped to get off to a good start as the second half began, but that wasn’t to be the case,” stated Zenz. “We made some crucial turnovers that turned in to easy baskets for the Lions, and they were able to open up a commanding lead after the third quarter. But we did outscore them in the final stanza.”
Katie Mogen and Mackenzie Sparby paced the Wolves in scoring with 25 and 13 points, respectively.
“Overall, I was happy with our play,” stated Zenz. “We played with them for three of the four quarters, and I like that Minot Ryan knew they were in a battle. They are by far the team to beat in Class B basketball, and very well could win State again this year. Their front line of 6’4” and 6’3” is very imposing, and they make it tough to score inside and to move the ball on the perimeter when they trap with that height.”
Rounding out the scoring for Watford City was April Spruell with six points, Lea Arndt with five points, while Krystal Wold and Alli Mogen ended the game with two points each.
For the game, the Wolves shot 63 percent from the field, hitting on 20 of 32 attempts and were good on four of eight at the charity stripe.
Watford City’s next action will be on December 29 when they take on Our Redeemer’s in Minot at 5:45 p.m. and then host Bottineau on Jan. 2. The Wolves will close out this week’s schedule on Saturday, Jan. 3 when they travel to Ray.
Watford City 20 26 36 53
Minot Ryan 16 31 60 74
Watford City Stats: Rebounds: April Spruell, 6; Alli Mogen, 3; Mackenzie Sparby 3; Kara Langerud, 2; Lea Arndt, 2; Katie Mogen, 2; Krystal Wold, 2; Tarynn Jacobson, 1. Assists: K. Mogen, 3; Spruell, 2; Ricki Lindley, 2; Arndt, 2; Sparby, 2. Steals: Arndt, 6; Lindley, 3; K. Mogen, 3; Spruell, 2; Langerud, 1; Jacobson, 1. Blocks: Spruell, 1.