Lions drop Lakota-Edmore despite Freije’s career night

The Bishop Ryan girls basketball team typically doesn’t allow an opposing team to score 45 points.

On Thursday, Lakota-Edmore junior forward Fallyn Freije hit the 45-point mark by herself. Yet Freije’s career night wasn’t enough to overcome Ryan’s multifaceted offense as the Lions stretched their winning streak to 32 games in a 72-57 victory against the seventh-ranked Raiders.

While the 6-foot starter accounted for 79 percent of L-E’s scoring, the Lions had four players score nine or more points, led by junior forward Hannah Stewart with 23. L-E’s Miranda Martinson finished with four points, second most for the Raiders.

The top-ranked Lions (3-0) opened the game on an 8-0 run and never trailed. Ryan scored by committee in the opening quarter as Stewart, guards Maddie Wald, Anika Rovig and Laurin Leidholt and junior forward Gabbie Bohl recorded baskets. Defensively, the Lions came out in a 1-3-1 halfcourt trap before switching to man-to-man. Freije got her points with every defensive look Ryan threw at her. She scored 14 of the Raiders’ 16 points in the first quarter and finished the half with 25.

“You just got to stay with your defensive principles and sometimes we got away from that,” Ryan coach Julie Stewart said. “We were watching the ball for whatever the reason. We have to know where (Freije) is at all times. We didn’t make that adjustment. I’m hoping it won’t happen again, but she had a rockstar game. She’s a good player inside and out.”

At one point, Julie Stewart put Wald (5-5) on Freije. Wald made it difficult for L-E to get the ball to Freije, but when she did get possession, it was a clear mismatch. The Lions went back to a zone defense in the second half.

“She’s a really good player and we just wanted to switch it up and try something new and see if it worked,” Wald said. “I tried to stop her from dribbling more to keep her away from the basket so that she wouldn’t get easy shots.”

Ryan led 44-34 early in the third quarter before the Raiders (1-2) went on an 8-0 run to close within two with 3 minutes, 35 seconds left in the frame. The Lions responded with a 12-0 burst, forcing turnovers on defense that led to easy baskets in transition. Ryan finished with 18 steals.

“It’s kind of a catch-22 because in some ways I thought our defense was not right and in other ways we got on a roll,” Julie Stewart said. “We were getting up the court in one of our zone defenses and it was working for us.”

Ryan’s late run in the third quarter – punctuated by freshman guard Sheyenne Schmidt’s 3-pointer to make it 53-42 – was a knockout blow to L-E. The Lions held a double-digit advantage the rest of the game. Schmidt hit all three of her 3s in the second half, finishing with nine points off the bench.

“It’s a different kind of intensity coming off the bench,” Schmidt said. “You want to prove everything. When the big girls are getting hacked down low, it opens up the floor for us guards.”

Hannah Stewart and Wald provided most of Ryan’s scoring in the second half, accounting for 26 of its 37 points. Wald finished with 19 and had six steals. Stewart added 12 rebounds for a double-double.

The Lions held the Raiders to 12 points in the fourth quarter – nine by Freije. Her 45 points eclipsed her previous high set last season with 42. Freije said it was difficult maneuvering around Ryan’s post players.

“They’re so tall and long-armed that I had to fake a lot,” Freije said. “I couldn’t just do drop steps because they come right across you and they can block anything with their long arms. Thank goodness my 3-pointers were falling tonight. I just kind of got lucky sometimes, too.”

The Lions travel to Trinity Christian tonight at 7.

Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.