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Rugby runs past Ryan

By Staff | Dec 18, 2015

Entering the Class B girls basketball season, following three years of Bishop Ryan dominance, Rugby was picked as favorite to win the Region 6 title.

If Thursday night was any indication, the Panthers could be on their way to doing just that.

Rugby used a 13-point third quarter to pull away for a 49-39 road win over the Lions at Bishop Ryan Catholic School.

“We still have to get better defensively,” Ryan girls basketball coach Julie Stewart said. “I know our offense will take some time, but defense and rebounding need to be automatic.”

The Panthers took a 26-24 lead into halftime thanks to a pair of free throws by freshman guard Maria Blessum. Both shots were hit with no time left on the clock.

And after Ryan senior guard Sheyenne Schmidt tied the game at 26-26 in the early stages of the third, the Panthers took off.

Behind the play of senior guard Shea Heidlebaugh, Rugby scored the next the six points to take a 32-26 lead.

It was a lead the Panthers never relinquished.

But the Lions weren’t done.

After a timeout, Ryan reeled off a 5-0 run of its own to pull to within 32-31. But Heidlebaugh scored the final seven points of the quarter to give Rugby a 39-31 lead entering the final period.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” Stewart said. “Sometimes it’s what they are doing and other times its like we don’t identify what we are doing.”

In the final period, inexperience came into play for Ryan, as several missed layups and free throws prevented the Lions from making a late-game rally.

“It’s a good win,” Brossart said. “It’s a good confidence builder.”

Heidlebaugh finished with 25 points to pace Rugby.

“She is a steady player,” Stewart said of the Rugby senior. “We need to show heart on the screen and get a hand up.”

Schmidt finished with 19 points in the loss for Ryan.

At 5-0 on the year, Brossart doesn’t consider Thursday’s win a statement of any kind.

“It’s game No. 5,” she said. “It’s not a statement.”

For Ryan (1-2) – the three-time defending Region 6 and state champion – it’s back to the drawing board.

Mark Jones covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @hoopsfan27_MDN.

This article appeared in the Dec. 11 edition of the Minot Daily News.

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