March 15, 2012 – That was the date the Minot Ryan girls basketball team last lost a game.
The loss – a 46-45 setback against Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock – came in the Class B state quarterfinals.
Since that day, the Lions have won 56 games in a row. Included in that streak was a 54-50 win over Central Cass in the 2013 state championship game.
Today, No. 1 ranked Ryan (27-0) has a chance to post back-to-back perfect seasons. The Lions play No. 3-ranked Bismarck Shiloh Christian at 8 p.m. tonight in the Class B state title game at the Fargodome.
A victory tonight also gives Ryan a place in North Dakota High School sports history.
If the Lions extend their winning streak to 57 games, that mark will tie the state and Class B girls basketball consecutive wins record held by Larimore.
Larimore won 57 games from 2002-2004 and claimed two state titles during that stretch.
The Lions and Skyhawks met during the regular season with Ryan winning 77-43 on Dec. 21. It was Shiloh Christian’s lone loss of the season. The Skyhawks have won 24 straight since the loss to Ryan.
Ryan lost one senior starter – Quinn Harmon – from last year’s state title team and brought back three all-state players in Hannah Stewart, Gabbie Bohl and Annika Rovig.
Stewart and Bohl are 6-foot-2 forwards and average double figures in scoring each game.
No player or coach on the team seems all that concerned about the win streak. When asked about the milestone in front of a group of reporters following Ryan’s 54-34 win over Central Cass in the semifinals Friday night, head coach Julie Stewart replied with a smile: “We are on a winning streak?”
It is obvious the Lions came to Fargo with its focus on winning another title, the consecutive wins record is just a byproduct of their success.