Stewart reaches 1,000, Ryan thumps Glenburn

Hannah Stewart tried not to think about her upcoming milestone.

But in the hours leading up to Bishop Ryan’s home tilt on Monday, a 96-29 win against Glenburn, the sophomore’s proximity to 1,000 career points weighed somewhere on her mind.

“Obviously it’s in the back of your head,” Stewart said. “But you don’t want to focus on how much you score throughout the game. You just want to focus on winning and getting everyone scoring.”

Stewart didn’t wait long to eclipse the mark. The third-year varsity forward hit a layup with 20 seconds left in the first quarter to reach 1,001. She finished with a game-high 27 points on 13-for-17 shooting.

Julie Stewart, Hannah’s mom and the Lions’ head coach, was quick to praise her daughter but just as eager to laud the guards that make her touches possible.

“Anytime somebody reaches 1,000 points, it’s a great milestone,” Julie said. “But you gotta understand, she’s got kids that feed her the ball. … When you have kids that can see you and get you the basketball, it’s outstanding.”

Ryan’s main facilitator against the Panthers was junior point guard Anika Rovig, who recorded 17 of the team’s 35 assists. She also scored 12 points.

When Rovig wasn’t feeding it to Hannah Stewart or Gabbie Bohl, who finished with 18 points, the posts were kicking it back out to Maddie Wald.

From there the sophomore guard connected on nearly everything she took, hitting four of her five 3-point attempts and nine of her 11 shots from the field to tally 23 points.

“After I make a few shots, I usually keep shooting ’cause I’m feeling it,” Wald said. “If we give it to our posts and they start scoring a lot we as guards get more open shots.”

For as well as the Ryan offense has played this year, cracking 80 points in four of its 14 games, the defense has been the team’s biggest strength.

That was overwhelmingly evident against Glenburn (5-7 overall, 2-3 District 12). The Lions limited the Panthers to just 27 shot attempts for the night and didn’t surrender a made field goal until Parker Bush’s jumper with three minutes, 43 seconds left in the second quarter cut Ryan’s lead to 38-5. The fullcourt pressure led to mistakes in bunches.

Ryan (14-0, 5-0) stole the ball 25 times and forced 34 Panthers’ miscues. Eventually the Panthers were able to find open looks and hit eight shots from the field.

“(Glenburn) did some high pick and rolls,” Julie Stewart said. “We got caught behind a little bit but we made some adjustments and it’s always good for girls to learn different things and how to defend that type of cut. All in all, I thought our defensive effort was good.”

So what’s more impressive, the 96 points scored or the 29 allowed? If you ask Hannah Stewart the answer is the offensive output, Ryan’s third highest total of the year. The 29 points was around the goal the Lions set for the game and, after all, Ryan has twice limited its opponents to under 20 points.

“This game it’s the 96,” Hannah Stewart said. “But when it’s below the 20s, we’re pretty proud of that.”

Ryan faces Kenmare on Saturday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium, the same date and place Glenburn plays Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood.