Article by Chuck Wickenhofer, Devils Lake Journal Sports, November 11th, 2016.
The Lake Region State College men's basketball game came into last weekend's tournament with a 3-0 record, having rolled over their early season competition.
Friday night's game against the Gillette Pronghorns at the DL Sports Center was a different story.
The Royals got down early to the Pronghorns, falling behind 14-2 early. Gillette had a distinct size advantage and were the more physical team throughout the game.
Lake Region's problems inside were an issue throughout the game, as the team was only able to pull down one offensive rebound in the first half. They went into halftime trailing 50-35.
Head coach Jared Marshall attributed some of the Royals' difficulties to lack of fundamentals on defense.
"They're very athletic and they can jump out of the gym, but part of it is that we just weren't getting butts on people, getting our bodies into them," Marshall said. "We were just letting them run free. We really need to learn to mark guys on defense and box out."
The Royals didn't fare much better in the second half. The Pronghorns continued to dominate inside and drop threes outside, as well as generate break opportunities off of their defensive rebounds. The Pioneers won the rebounding battle 54-35 on the night on the way to a 105-79 victory.
Marshall indicated that the early test may be good for the Royals in the long run.
"I like the fact that we got challenged early. It shows us what we need to accomplish," Marshall said. "We saw what it's going to take to be great this year. That's a great ballclub, they were a Final Four team last year."
Sophomore guard Ben Rennie led the Royals with 16 points and three rebounds, while freshman center Harvey Barr contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Freshman guard Cedric Boone added 14 points and five rebounds but also turned the ball over eight times.
The Pronghorns shot 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from the field. They had five players in double figures.
Marshall said that his team doesn't plan on dwelling on the lopsided loss.
"We played some selfish basketball at times, and at times we were a very good team and we played right with them," Marshall said. "We have to get over it and learn."