The Road Royals: LRSC men start well, finish stronger

The Road Royals: LRSC men start well, finish stronger

Article by Harry Lipsiea, Devils Lake Journal Sports, January 10th, 2017.

A wise person once said, "It's not how you start, but how you finish."

Well, the good news for the Lake Region State College men's basketball team is that the squad finished just as well as it started Monday evening in Bismarck.

There couldn't have been much better of a start for the Royals. 

A pair of threes by freshmen Jordan Bolton and Cedric Boone along with a Ben Rennie jumper helped the team take a 10-1 advantage over Bismarck State College.

In the end, however, it was the team's ability to have a huge push in the final minute that determined the outcome of the game.

With its back to the wall and trailing by four points in the final minute of the game, Lake Region State College needed a big shot. 

Freshman forward Nic Fassos answered the call nailing a three to cut the team's deficit to 90-89 with 38 seconds remaining.

The Royals then came up with a big defensive stop. On their next trip down the floor, freshman perimeter player Boone nails a jumper to give his squad a 91-90 advantage.

Another key stop led to a trip to the line for Bolton. The Apple Valley, Minn., native hit his first free throw and missed the second to make the score 92-90 under 10 seconds. The Mystics tried a three-point shot at the buzzer that ultimately rattled out of the bucket. Lake Region State College earned the 92-90 victory. 

With the win, the Royals improve to 12-6 on the season. More importantly, the squad is now 1-0 in the Mon-Dak Conference.

"To go on the road and take one like that speaks volumes of our team. It's never easy to do that and Bismarck is a talented team," Jared Marshall, Lake Region State College second-year head coach of the men's basketball team, told the Journal. "It's a great way to start conference play and give us confidence rolling into Wednesday night against Williston."

 Lake Region State College was led by four players in double figures. Boone came through with a huge night scoring 28 points. Rennie chipped in with 20 points and eight rebounds. 

"Cedric and Ben came to play," Marshall said. "They made big play after big play for us."

Bolton added 16 points while Fassos also hit double figures with 10 points and seven boards.

Harvey Barr came up big in the middle with six points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Jayson Edwards and Derrick Laudenbach scored four points a piece. Drew Thielges and James Streeter rounded out the scoring with two points each.

Not if the road conference wasn't big on its own, but the team's performance was particularly sweet considering last week's disappointing loss to Rainy River Community College. 

The squad was able to learn from the defeat and put its lessons to work Monday evening against conference foe Bismarck State College.

"Our energy tonight was night and day different that it was Wednesday night. I am proud of the way we competed and responded to adversity," he stated.

Defense and turnovers are two areas that Marshall stated were a concern going into the game against the Mystics. 

While giving up 90 points in a game may not seem like an accomplishment, there are few teams in the nation that can score like the Mystics. 

Going into Monday's matchup, Bismarck State College averaged 99.5 points per game. During the season, the team has put up 130 points or more three times.

Handling the ball was a huge key in the team's victory. After 26 turnovers against Rainy River, Lake Region State College was able to reduce that number by 11 only turning the ball over 15 times against an extremely aggressive defensive team. 

"We made sharper passes and better decisions. Happy we handled their press tonight. Made the difference the game." 

The Royals are gearing up for its second conference matchup Wednesday. LRSC hosts Williston State College at 8:30 p.m.