Article by Harry Lipsiea, Devils Lake Journal Sports, January 24th, 2017.
The importance of trusting the process, that was the message of Lake Region State College women's basketball coach Danny Mertens' post-game speech Sunday afternoon. Along with getting better everyday, the third-year head coach has always talked about each player learning their roles within the team.
"We are seeing a lot of good things," he told the Journal. "Now, it's about about bringing it all together. There is a process that we have to follow to get the team where it needs to be. As long as everyone believes and trusts what the coaching staff is looking for, we will be successful."
LRSC improved to 11-7 Sunday with a home win over Jamestown JV. The team picked up an 84-72 triumph. Cassidy Nelson continues to have a banner season for the Royals. The 5-foot-11 sophomore forward scored 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting. From the line, Nelson was perfect hitting on all nine attempts. She also added eight rebounds and four assists. She scored 88 points in three games this week.
"Cassidy continues to be our go-to player," Mertens pointed out. "She has been extremely consistent for us all year. Cassidy had one heck of a week."
Lake Region State College led throughout the contest. The Jimmies put together a nice run to get as close as four points in the fourth at 58-54. It didn't take long, however, for the home team to bounce back. Mackenzie Irwin nailed a three to stretch the lead to seven. Sophomore guard Helen Schuster then added two straight threes to give the Royals a 67-54 advantage.
Jamestown JV used several defensive stops and a few threes of its own to get as close as 76-69 midway through the third. Nelson, however, stopped the run as she added a three-point play and a jumper to give her team a late 11-point lead. LRSC earned the 84-72 win.
"We were trying some different things today especially on defense. In practice this week, we put a halfcourt trap and a couple of other different looks to help prepare us down the road," Mertens said. "I was a little frustrated that we didn't pull away a little bit more, but I saw a lot of good things. Late in the game, the girls did a real nice job after timeouts hitting shots and making stops. I thought it was a good effort."
Nelson led all players with 35 points. Schuster finished with 17 points. Jillian Hanson, Ella Gobald and Emily Schafer scored seven points each. Mer Gach chipped in with six points off the bench. Irwin scored four points. R'rionna Brocks added a point.
LRSC led 16-10, 38-27 and 52-48 at the quarter breaks.
The Royals play United Tribes on the road Thursday.
"It's a tough place to play," Mertens pointed out. "United Tribes is a team that when they are shooting, they are going to be right in every single game they play. We are going to have to get out and defend from the start of the game."