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Panthers fall to Lions in region finale
March 16, 2018

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It was anybody's game Friday when the Minot Bishop Ryan Lions and the Rugby Panthers faced off in the Minot Auditorium for the Region 6 Class B Championship.

Ten times the score would be tied. The Panthers dressed in their whites could not take the Lions at the end who roared to a finish of 56-45. Each team struggled to find their rhythm in the first half.Rugby shot 31 percent in the first half and Bishop Ryan shot 25 percent.

The first quarter started off with a three pointer bucket from the Lions and immediately followed with three by the Panthers. And it was soon tied at 4-4, and then 6-6, and 9-9 and finished the first quarter at 11-11. It was a tight game, back and forth, good defensive, good offense, and sometimes seeming like repeat, do it again, repeat.

The second quarter started out with Rugby's Devan Michels falling on his elbow, taking him out of the quarter with 4:52 on the clock. He returned the next quarter, looking ready to go.

Landen Foster scored a crazy 2 point bucket that came off the back, twirled around the rim and in slow motion fell through the net. Each team was patiently offensive. And the game again tied, at 13-13 in the second quarter. Seth Jaeger lost from the free throw bucket to immediately get a 2 point bucket. The Lions were 17-16 with 90 seconds to go in the half, the score tied again at 17-17 but ended in 18-17 Rugby at the half time buzzer.

The third quarter got underway with Panther's Jaden Hamilton getting a 3 point bucket taking the score to 25-23, and then he scored another 3 pointer bringing the score to 31-29. The Panthers were on the move and it was tied at 31-31. The Lions put in the 3 bucket, and the Panthers followed with Hamilton's two pointer making the score 34-34.

The Lions' Mason Hedberg finished the third quarter with a bucket for two points finalizing the third quarter 36-34. It was still anybody's game.

Foster knocked in a 2 point bucket for the Panthers upping the score to another tie of 36-36 with 7:09 on the clock. Then Hegger for the Lion's got a 3 point slam, followed by another 3 points bringing the score 42-36 which was the beginning of the end for the Panthers. The lead became 44-36, with the largest lead of the game by 8 points, and it was cold for the Panthers as a foul on Goven netted Sheen two free throws from the line which were both good, making the score 48-36.

The Lions outscored the Panthers 19-16 to take a two-point lead entering the fourth quarter. But Hedberg sparked a 12-0 run for the Lions with two 3-pointers, a steal and a layup in transition. Hedberg rebounded from the first quarter but it was when it counted.

"I knew I just had to stick with my shot," Hedberg said.

Hedberg led Ryan with 19 points, while Ben Bohl scored with 16 points and nine rebounds. The Lions shot 37 percent from the floor, 5-of-18 from beyond the arc and made 15 of 24 free throws. The Lions had 5 of 18 from beyond the arc and 15 of 24 free throws.

Hamilton scored a team-high 14 points for Rugby, while Foster recorded 10 points. The Panthers shot 36 percent from the floor, 3-of-13 from beyond the arc and outrebounded Ryan 30-28.

"I think we played good basketball, and then there were two minutes in there where they hit two threes on us and two transition buckets," Mike Santjer, Rugby Panther's coach said. "We lost our mind a little bit after that and we stopped attacking. Kudos to those guys, they're a great team and I wish them well."

This is the second straight year for The Lions to the title of Region 6 Champions. The State Championships were held in Bismarck this weekend and scores were not available at press time.

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