Royals stall Pioneers in win

Royals stall Pioneers in win

Article by Chuck Wickenhofer, Devils Lake Journal Sports, November 12th, 2016.

The Lake Region State College men's basketball team recovered from their first loss of the season to beat the Northland Pioneers 78-67 Saturday night at the DL Sports Center.

The Pioneers were a tough test for the Royals throughout the game, and it was a back-and-forth affair early. Lake Region's defense kept Northland in check in the first half, holding them to 35 percent from the field and 18 percent from behind the arc.

The Royals fared a lot better from the field, shooting 48 percent while knocking down 38 percent of their 3-point attempts. They took a 35-29 lead into halftime on the strength of their defensive intensity and inside game.

The second half was a test for the Royals, as the Pioneers were able to get their offense together early in the period. They went on a seven point run to close the gap to two, 49-47.

That's when sophomore guard Ben Rennie and freshman guard Jarrett Baptiste stepped up their games. Rennie's drive to the hoop drew a Pioneers foul, and he completed the 3-point play and scored on the Royals' next possession to put the score at 57-49 Royals.

Baptiste was all over Northland defensively, swiping two steals in two possession and scoring on the other end to extend the Royals' lead to 65-49.

Head coach Jared Marshall recognized both of their contributions after the game.

"We had some guys step up. I really liked Ben Rennie's leadership out there today, he really came alive in the second half," Marshall said.

"We can be a very deep team. (Jarrett) Baptiste had a great night tonight, he's our best defender hands down and he really has a knack for the ball. His energy was great tonight."

After the Royals built their 16 point lead midway through the second half, they had no trouble finishing out the game, beating the Pioneers 78-67.

Baptiste led the team with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Rennie notched 14 points and added four assists, while freshman guard Cedric Boone contributed 13 points on 50 percent shooting from behind the arc while dishing out four assists.

Marshall pointed to his team's well-rounded approach as a recipe for success going forward.

"We're a young team, and if (we) can figure out that it's going to be different guys every night and buy into that, we're going to be fine