Rylie Jones had never heard anybody chant her name before. She can’t say that anymore.
Game-changing defense from the 6-foot-1 sophomore evoked deserving “Rylie! Rylie!” cheers in the closing minutes of Tuesday’s 71-58 win over Detroit Lakes for the Bemidji High School girls basketball team.
“Rylie had her coming out party. You can’t coach size, and Rylie gives us size,” Lumberjacks head coach Steve Schreiber said. “This is nothing against Macy and Rumer (Flatness), because they did a great job in terms of what they can do against a girl who is six inches taller than them. But Rylie just gave us that height that nobody else has for us.”
Jones was tasked with taming 6-foot-3 Breanna Price, the Lakers’ go-to offensive option and the primary reason why Detroit Lakes was still within striking distance for much of the night. Price racked up 20 points in the game. She scored zero on Jones.
“I just tried to not let her get the ball as much. I was mainly focusing on that,” Jones said. “Everyone was working well together. … It was super important because everybody really brought a lot to the team today.”
Early on, it was Lindsey Hildenbrand and Ashley Hofstad who fueled a fast start in a high-flying first half.
Hildenbrand sunk a corner 3-pointer to open the night before another triple put the Lumberjacks (3-3) ahead 15-10. The latter silenced a quick spurt from Price, which turned out to be a common theme throughout.
Bemidji always had an answer for every DL push. BHS went up seven when Rumer Flatness drew a double team on the block, then split the defenders with a dime to a cutting Hofstad for an easy two.
The lead then hit 11 at 31-20 on a Hofstad transition layup, and the Jacks went into the break with a 36-28 advantage.
Detroit Lakes (4-4) snuck back within four early in the second half, but Bemidji responded with the next seven points. Soon after, Hofstad netted back-to-back buckets for a 13-point lead.
With Price largely confined due to Jones’ defense, meanwhile, the Lakers never closed closer than eight points. As had been the case all night, BHS stayed a step ahead.
Hildenbrand tallied a team-high 16 points, while Hofstad put up 15. Katie Alto and Rumer Flatness also chipped in 12 and 10, respectively.
For the Lakers, Lauryn Manning’s 18 points complemented the 20 from Price. Elli Lunde finished with 11, as well.
Detroit Lakes continues a three-game section swing at Sartell-St Stephen (2-5) Friday, Dec. 21.
DL 28 30 - 58
BM 36 35 - 71
DL - Price 20, Manning 18, Lunde 11, Cihak 4, Collins 3, Larson 2.
BEM - Hildenbrand 16, Hofstad 15, Alto 12, R. Flatness 10, M. Flatness 7, Nicklason 6, Jones 3, T. Wade 2.