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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Lake Region State Basketball starts 2013-14 season strong

  • The LRSC men's and women's basketball teams finish the weekend with unblemished records.
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  • The two teams couldn’t have started the season any better.
    Lake Region State Basketball kicked off it’s season this weekend at the Devils Lake Sports Center, and both the men and women came out on the other side with unblemished records.
    The men, led by first-year head coach Joe Kittell, won both of their games by a combined 96 points, giving Kittell the first two head coaching victories of his career.
    The Lady Royals exhibited an equally dominant display in their two games, winning both contests with ease by a combined 105-point margin.
    Men’s team
    Kittell’s basketball philosophy revolves around playing strong, active defense with effort and energy, and this weekend, the Royals energy was far too much for their opponents to handle.
    The team opened up the weekend with a Saturday night match up against Turtle Mountain in their season opener, and it was a one-sided affair from the start.
    Darnell Landon got things started for the Royals in the game’s opening seconds with a dunk that fired up both the crowd and his teammates.
    Melvin Langstaff, who led LRSC last season in scoring as a freshman (18.2 ppg), led the team once again with 21 points along with five rebounds and five assists. Devin Thom also chipped in to the Royals effort with his usual accuracy from behind the arc, finishing the game with 20 points of his own, including 6/14 from three-point range.
    Turtle Mountain’s Jared Lambert finished with 18 points for the opposition, but it wasn’t enough to spell the home team’s offensive output as they put in a dominant performance, giving their new head coach his first win with the Royals.
    Kittell, who was admittedly nervous before Saturday night’s tip-off, was relieved once he heard the final buzzer sound.
    “I’m gonna breathe here pretty soon,” Kittell said shortly after his first head coaching victory. “I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous. But the guys played hard, battled through and got the job done. It was good to see.”
    It was more of the same on Sunday evening as well.
    The Royals squared off against Fort Berthold the following night, and the home team did not disappoint as they proved they were the superior team right from the get-go.
    LRSC started the game on a 19-0 run to get things going, and they never let up.
    Langstaff put in another strong performance as he and teammate Malik Durant-Haines finished tied with 16 points, good for second on the team.
    Page 2 of 3 - Freshman and St. Paul, Minn. native Diallo Powell led the Royals with 24 points, and two of those points stood out from the rest.
    On a fast break, Powell and teammate Patrick Thomas (Adelaide, Austrailia) were advancing toward the basket with Thomas in possession. Powell, whose athleticism is obvious to those who watched him in warmups, signaled Thomas for an alley-oop pass, and the Austrailian did not disappoint as he placed the ball perfectly in Powell’s stride, who caught the pass and slammed it home for an emphatic dunk that fired up the LRSC bench and brought the crowd to its feet.
    It was all part of what was a convincing result for the Royals, who improved to 2-0 with the victory.
    The team also had six players finish in double figures, which goes to show how good this team can be when players are sharing the ball and hitting their shots.
    “2-0 feels good,” Kittell said. “We tried to go into this weekend to get to 2-0 and come out without any injuries, and that’s what we were able to accomplish.
    “When we share the ball and generate good shots, we’re a pretty good team offensively.”
    The Royals face off against No. 8 Iowa Western at 7 p.m. this Friday night at the Devils Lake Sports Center.
    Women’s team
    Most of the LRSC faithful knew who the better team was on Saturday night before the game even started. The final scoreline just made it obvious.
    The Lady Royals, led by head coach Duane Schwab, were at their usual best this weekend, picking up a pair of convincing victories over the same two opponents, Turtle Mountain and Fort Berthold, to improve their record to 2-0.
    The started the weekend off with a dominant performance over Turtle Mountain, who looked outmatched from the very beginning.
    LRSC won the game 125-52, leaving no doubt that they were the superior team.
    Sunday afternoon was no different as the Lady Royals strolled to another easy win, this time against Fort Berthold.
    While the Lady Chiefs presented a more valid opponent for the home team, they never threatened LRSC’s chances of winning the game.
    According to Schwab, while the results are nice to have, there is still a fair bit of work that still needs to be done.
    “We just never got into our flow,” Schwab said following Sunday afternoon’s win. “A lot of the time, we got the ball down the court, made one pass and shot the ball. And sometimes that happens when you’re ahead, with everyone trying to score.
    Page 3 of 3 - “Overall, I thought we were pretty sloppy today.”
    The Lady Royals are a program with a tradition of winning with consistency, and they seem to be on their way to another successful campaign in 2013-14.
    Aside from the obvious skill that the team possesses, the group is also supported by significant depth at every position, something that will play heavily into the team’s advantage throughout the course of the season.
    “That’s one of our strengths,” Schwab said. “We can put pressure on for all 40 minutes, and we have at least one solid back up at every position. I think our bench is going to play a big role for us this season.”
    The Lady Royals pick things back up again at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Sports Center as they take on Ellendale, a four-year school.
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