Article by Harry Lipsiea, Devils Lake Journal Sports, November 21st, 2016.
A road trip. It was a new experience for a majority of the 2016-2017 Lake Region State College men's basketball team. The Royals, featuring a 14-player roster with 11 freshmen, traveled to Montana over the weekend for a pair of non-conference contests. The team faced off against Miles Community College Friday evening before taking on University of Montana-Western JV Saturday afternoon.
LRSC fought hard for a come-from-behind Friday, but was unable to defeat the home squad. The Pioneers won 66-56. In the end, Saturday served as a good opportunity to bounce back for the Royals as they knocked off the Bulldogs 106-85.
Lake Region State College returned to Devils Lake with an overall record of 7-2. The squad returns home this Wednesday evening before hitting the road to play Friday and Saturday. Overall, the team's road trip was a good chance to see where it is at early in the season.
"The weekend showed us that we have some things to clean up to be at our best this week for three games," head coach Jared Marshall told the Journal.
MCC 66 LRSC 56
It was tight throughout Friday's matchup as Miles Community College and Lake Region State College battled in non-conference action. An 13-0 run in the first half was key for the Pioneers as it went from an 18-16 lead for LRSC to a 29-18 advantage for MCC.
LRSC kept it tight throughout the final 20 minutes. Thanks to solid defense and buckets in transition the team got within one possession several times. The Pioneers, however, never gave up the lead, sinking several important shots from the field and the free throw line. MCC earned the 66-56 victory.
The leading scorer on the night was Montenia Nelson. The guard finished with 18 points for the Pioneers.
James Streeter led the way for the Royals with 12 points and seven boards off the bench. Ben Rennie chipped in with 11 points while Jordan Bolton added 10. Jayson Edwards finished with eight points while Harvey Barr had six. Sam Riley, who added 10 rebounds, Nic Fassos and Drew Thielges each rounded out the scoring with three points.
LRSC shot 33 percent overall, 28 percent from beyond the arc and 40 percent from the line.
"You aren't going to win many games with 20 + turnovers and missing 15 plus free throws," Marshall stated. "Our energy was not where it needed to be throughout the game to win in a hostile environment on the road."
LRSC 106 UMW-JV 85
After a disappointing late Friday evening defeat, LRSC faced a hard-nosed University of Montana Western JV early Saturday afternoon. The first half was extremely back-and-forth from the start.
It was the Royals that jumped off to a fast start thanks to a three-point shot by Jordan Bolton and back-to-back cutbacks by seven-footer Harvey Barr. LRSC scored the first nine points of the game. With strong defense and hot shooting by the Bulldogs knotted the game up at 16.
Montana Western then got on a roll taking a 36-23 advantage midway through the first period. With momentum on its opponent's side, LRSC rode a wave of its own. A barrage of three-point shots by freshman Drew Thielges and two inside buckets by Barr, the Royals took a six-point lead with three minutes left in the half. LRSC held on to its advantage with the score at 50-44 after 20 minutes of play.
Early in the second half, the Bulldogs cut the deficit to just one point. It was all LRSC from there as buckets by Fassos, Ben Rennie and Bolton gave the away team a 14-point advantage. The Royals never looked back from there.
Lake Region wrapped up a 106-85 victory to improve to 7-2.
"We needed to bounce back and be better against a chippy, hard-nosed team," Marshall complimented of the University of Montana Western JV. They tested us at times made a few runs that we were able to shut down. I was proud of that and how we rebounded after a tough one last night."
LRSC shot well finishing 49 percent from the field, 40 percent beyond the arc and 81 percent at the line.
The coach pointed out that both Bolton and Barr had big performances that helped lead the Royals.
"What a great game from Harvey, he just made play after play on both sides of the ball. It shows that he is really starting to figure it out," the coach said. "Jordan Bolton is really starting to find his stroke from beyond the arche did a wonderful job of stepping up today."
Bolton led the way with 19 points for the Royals. Fassos added 17 points while Barr had 14 points and 16 rebounds. Thielges also added 14 points including making four three-point baskets. Jayson Edwards added 10 points while Ben Rennie and Derrick Laudenbach added eight points apiece. Aaron Boone and James Streeter each chipped in with six points. Sam Riley rounded out the scoring with four points.
Rennie has provided good leadership for the youthful Royal team, Marshall said.
"Ben Rennie continues to be our leader with all that he does for this team game in and game out. I love getting to coach him and expect him to continue to be a great player for us," the coach stated.
The Royals host Jamestown JV Wednesday evening at 8:30 p.m. On Friday, LRSC travels to Wyoming for an opportunity at redemption. The team has a chance to avenge both of its losses.
The Royals play Gillette College Friday evening before taking on Miles Community College Saturday.
"I am excited for our team to move forward and seeing how much we have improved," Marshall commented.