Article by Chuck Wickenhofer, Devils Lake Journal Sports, November 3rd, 2016.
The Lake Region State College men's basketball team brought in 11 freshmen this year, so fans might expect that the team could need some time to get into the swing of the new season.
Last night's dominant performance against the Fort Berthold Storm indicates that if the Royals are just getting their feet under them now, they might become a really scary team as the season progresses.
The Royals rode a dominant inside game and a sharpshooting performance outside to notch a 30 point win over the Storm, 106-76.
The game was never really close, though the Storm managed to take an early lead. After a few shots failed to fall for the Royals, they started pounding it inside, generating their first seven points on five made free throws and a monster jam by Derrick Laudenbach.
The Royals brought a clear size advantage to the party Wednesday night, with 7' center Harvey Barr and 6'11" James Streeter keeping the Storm honest. Barr finished with 11 points and six rebounds, while Streeter finished with eight points and also grabbed six rebounds.
Their stats don't tell the whole story, as the Royals' inside presence opened up plenty of outside opportunities. Freshman guard Cedric Boone drained five of his 10 shots from behind the arc, finishing with a team-high 18 points. The Royals shot just under 36 percent from three point land on the night and 48 percent overall.
Though he was happy with his team's offensive performance, head coach Jared Marshall saw plenty of room for improvement on defense.
"I'd really like us to be solid defensively. I think you can tell that scoring is not going to be an issue for us, we really score the rock,"
Marshall said. "I think we had a lot of lapses where we kind of let up or didn't trust each other to make the right play."
The Royals rode their inside-out game to a 63-31 lead at halftime, but the Storm were able to outscore them 45-43 in the second half. The contest was all but decided by then, but Marshall said that the team needs to play at the same level the entire game.
"We need to be locked in for 40 minutes," Marshall said. "It doesn't matter who's in, we need to be able to guard."
Defensive lapses aside, the Royals showed that they're a more well-rounded team than last year, according to Marshall.
"We're a very deep team. You saw 14 guys that played and could score for us tonight," Marshall said. "At the end of last year, we only had those six to eight guys that we were going to, and tired legs at the end of the year really cost us."
The stats bear that out: Four players finished in double digits, and all but two players on the roster scored.
The Royals hope to keep things rolling at home in the Sleep Inn Tournament this weekend when they face Leech Lake Saturday at 7 p.m.
and Turtle Mountain Sunday at 4 p.m. Marshall said that the formula for success is already established going forward.
"If we're struggling from the outside, we have the inside. We have a really nice inside-out (game). Our size is really going to be an advantage."