OLIVIA — During both teams’ season-opener, BOLD and Yellow Medicine East were understandably sluggish early in their non-conference contest Thursday night.
However, with a size advantage and strong contributions from speedy freshman Mari Ryberg, the Warriors pulled away late in the first half and did not look back, as they captured a 65-52 girls basketball victory over the Sting from BOLD High School.
“We were able to get some transition points and attack,” Warriors head coach Brian Kingery said. “We really kind of dominated the glass, which is an area we really need to dominate.”
After the opening tip, BOLD held the visitors off the scoreboard through the first four minutes before YME flipped things around thanks to its defense. Collecting a series of turnovers and turning them all into points, the Sting ripped off an 11-0 run to take a 11-7 lead.
The two teams went back and forth until the Warriors used a 7-1 surge to take a 27-21 cushion until the halftime break.
Starting in her first career game at the varsity level, Ryberg figured to be key in the home team’s advantage at the break. Often parked in the corner, the 5-foot-9 guard was ready to fire whenever the ball swung or was kicked out in her direction. She drilled a pair of 3-pointers, but also wasn’t afraid to attack paint, whether on a backdoor cut on a drive into the lane.
Scoring a team-high 10 points in the first half, Ryberg finished with 16 points and two steals.
“This was her first start, her first big-time minutes, and she just adds a speed dimension our other girls don’t have,” Kingery said. “She’s just quick and she showed it tonight. She was able to get some fast-break layups and hit a couple of threes. When she’s hitting that, that’s just an added bonus.”
During the second half, BOLD was able to get out in transition and push the ball up the floor. If the Warriors were unable to get easy buckets in the uptempo game, senior Ashley Trongard made sure those baskets came by cleaning up the glass.
The 5-foot-11 forward pulled down 17 rebounds while scoring a team-high 20 points, as BOLD opened as much as a 20-point lead.
Sophomore center Abby Meyers snatched 10 of the team’s 34 rebounds. Senior guard Breanna Weis also contributed 10 points and a squad-best six assists.
As the only player on her team in double figures, senior guard Madison Hinz paced the visitors with a game-high 21 points. Senior forward Lauren McCosh, junior guard Brylea Ruff and sophomore center Shelby Mortensen each chipped in eight points for YME.
BOLD will return to the floor for a road contest against Minneota at 7:15 p.m. Monday while the Sting’s next game will also be on the road Dec. 2 against the same Vikings team.