Royal men run away with triumph

Royal men run away with triumph

Article by Harry Lipsiea, Devils Lake Journal Sports, February 22nd, 2017.

Lake Region State College's gameplan against United Tribes Technical College in Mon-Dak men's basketball action was simple: Get the ball inside. Looking to use size advantage, the home team planned to get scoring opportunities for 7-footer Harvey Barr and 6-foot-10 James Streeter.

What's funny about basketball is when you are able to go inside, the ability to be effective from the outside goes up tremendously. That was the case Sunday for Lake Region State College as the team cruised to a 104-83 conference victory at the Devils Lake Sports Center. With the win, the Royals improve to 19-10 overall and 7-4 in the conference.

"It all started by getting the ball inside to Harvey Barr," Lake Region State College head coach Jared Marshall told the Journal. "We knew we had a size advantage, so it was important to get buckets inside early with Harvey and James Streeter. That opened up the outside game."

Barr and Street combined for 31 points for the Royals. Once the Thunderbirds concentrated on stopping the inside game, it was time for the home team to go beyond the arc. Guard Drew Thielges hit six threes, including five in a row, to reach his career high of 20 points. It was a big night for the LaMoure freshman.

"It was great to see," Marshall said. "We knew that Drew was capable of a game like this. It was an awesome shooting display."

Perhaps the biggest key in the game for Lake Region State College was getting out to a quick start. The Royals got out to a 56-33 lead at halftime.

"Those first 15 minutes were absolutely crucial," the coach added. "That was our best start of the season."

Back-to-back buckets inside by Barr gave the Royals an early 10-point advantage. LRSC kept it going as Cedric Boone nailed a three and Ben Rennie added a bucket to make the score 25-9.

The Royals continued to make stops and then find success with their transition offense. Boone, Barr and Nic Fassos each added buckets on the fastbreak.

A three by Fassos and an inside basket by Sam Riley gave the team a 19-point advantage. It was then time for Thielges. The freshman guard hit five three-point shots, including one of the glass, to give LRSC a 52-26 advantage. Two buckets by Streeter closed out the half for the Royals as they led 56-33 going into the locker room at the half.

Give credit to the Thunderbirds as they didn't quit in the second half, outscoring the Royals 56-44. Ultimately, however, the home team never lost control on the way to a 104-83 victory.

"My only gripe is that we gave up 50 points in that second half," Marshall said. "I would have liked to finish stronger, but we played some very good basketball early. I thought we were good for about 30 minutes. Now, our concentration is to make that 40 minutes every time we step on the court."

It was a balanced scoring effort for the Royals. Thielges led the team with 20 points. Boone was close behind with 17 points. Barr added 16 points and 15 rebounds. Streeter chipped in with 15 points. Rennie added 11 points while Fassos had 10. Jayson Edwards and Sam Riley scored six points each. Jon Lund rounded out the scoring with a point.

The balanced scoring is a result of good passing and unselfishness, Marshall said. 

"We were really sharing the ball and looking for the open look," the coach added. "Our guys were playing together and for each other. If we play like we did in those first 15 minutes we are a scary team. Now, it's about putting together entire games."

The Royals held sophomore night Sunday celebrating the contributions of Rennie, Edwards and Lund.

"It was great to to send those guys off with a win in their last regular season home game," he commented. "All three of those players have done a lot for this program. Ben, Jayson and Jon each contributed in the win today. That was great to see."

LRSC has an opportunity to clinch second place in the Mon-Dak Conference Thursday in Bottineau. The Royals will clash with the Jacks to close out the regular season.

"With a win, we will able to wrap up a home playoff game," Marshall pointed out. "That's what we are focused on."