WILLISTON, N.D. -- The Lake Region State women's basketball team fought to a seven-point win over defending conference and regional champion Williston State, giving the Lady Royals a perfect start to their 2014 Mon-Dak campaign.

WILLISTON, N.D. -- The Lake Region State women's basketball team fought to a seven-point win over defending conference and regional champion Williston State, giving the Lady Royals a perfect start to their 2014 Mon-Dak campaign.

The men were not as fortunate, facing a strong Tetons team that is also defending its conference and regional championships this season. The Royals came up short in a spirited effort, eventually losing by eight, 97-89.

Thursday night's action represented the first competitive game action seen by the LRSC basketball teams in nearly a month. Both the men's and women's team defeated Turtle Mountain Community College on Dec. 13, but it's been a nothing but a lengthy respite for the players since then.

Rustiness was a bit of concern for both Lake Region State head coaches, Duane Schwab and Joe Kittell, ahead of Thursday's games. Luckily for the Lady Royals, they were able to overcome that to capture a 1-0 conference record to kick things off.

Women's team
It was always going to be a difficult test for the LRSC women's basketball team to play the defending regional champions on the road, over three weeks removed from their last competitive game.

Williston State entered the contest as .500 basketball team, 9-8, the kind of team that can shine one night and fizzle out another.
The Lady Tetons' previous loss before Thursday came against Miles City Community College, a 65-56 decision on the road. LRSC defeated Miles City 73-46 in late November.

But there's also the side of Williston State that can beat any team on any given night, the kind of team that Schwab was wary of prior to the game. The Lady Tetons upset the College of Southern Idaho on the road on Dec. 9, a team that was ranked No. 4 in the country at the time.

It seemed that regardless of the Williston State team that showed up Thursday night was unable to keep pace with the Lady Royals, handing them their 14th win of the season (14-3, 1-0 Mon-Dak).

LRSC top scorer and sophomore guard Sarah Schafer took center stage for her team once again, now fully recovered from her gall bladder surgery. Schafer finished the game with 27 points, more than any other player on the court for either team.

Jordyn Kirk also eclipsed 20 points in the contest, registering 22 in the team's win. Becca Scherr was the only other LRSC player to finish in double figures (10).

The Lady Royals struggled from the field down the stretch, converting just 29.2 percent of their field goal attempts (7/24), but the team's 47.5 percent effort in the first half proved to be enough to keep LRSC ahead for good.

SCORING: Schafer 27, Kirk 22, Scherr 10, My'Kale French 4, Sara Schwanke 4, Leslie Hairston 4, Jonie Wipf 2

ASSISTS: Scherr 8, Hairston 4, Schafer 3, French 1, Schwanke 1, Rebecca Eberle 1, Wipf 1

REBOUNDS: French 8, Kirk 8, Hairston 5, Eberle 4, Wipf 4, Schafer 3, Schwanke 2, Scherr 2, Ashley Knecht 1, Meghan Jorgenson 1

Men's team
The Royals couldn't quite replicate the efforts of their female counterparts, but in their defense, they were facing a much stronger Williston State team.

The Tetons entered the game with a 15-4 overall record and fresh off a run of six games after Christmas. The team defeated Miles City by 20 points in Montana just two day's prior to Thursday's Mon-Dak opener. LRSC lost to Miles City 92-80 on Nov. 22.

Joe Kittell knew that his team could make any number of excuses as to the reason they lost Thursday night: rustiness, the vigors of playing on the road as well as the strength of the opposition.

But the LRSC head coach was proud of his guys after the 97-89 loss, a decision that was fought for by the Royals with malice and determination.
Devin Tohm had a spectacular night from the field, particularly from behind the arc, finishing with 23 points to lead Lake Region State, including 7/13 shooting from three-point range.

Diallo Powell (14), Patrick Thomas (12) and Karon Linton (11) were the other LRSC scorers to finish in double figures.

The Royals finished with just as many rebounds as the Tetons (48) and even managed to grab a few more offensive rebounds than their opposition (22). But the difference in the game could be found in the teams' shooting percentages.

Williston State shot 52.7 percent for the whole game (55 percent in the second half). Lake Region State more than ten full points below that mark (42 percent).

The Royals will play their next game in Fort Totten, N.D. against Cankdeska Cikana Community College, a team that LRSC has already defeated this season in Devils Lake, 107-76. That game tips off at 5 p.m. on Jan. 12.

Three days after that, Lake Region State will host its first home game in over a month in another Mon-Dak encounter, this time against NDSCS. The game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the Devils Lake Sports Center.

SCORING: Tohm 23, Powell 14, Thomas 12, Linton 11, Melvin Langstaff 7, Kharie Kirkland 4, Darnell Landon 4, Tyler Moore 2

ASSISTS: Tohm 3, Kirkland 2, Thomas 2, Langstaff 1, Landon 1, Linton 1, Moore 1, Powell 1

REBOUNDS: Powell 11, Langstaff 9, Channing Reed 5, Tanner Stapleton 3, Tohm 3, Thomas 2, Landon 2, Linton 2, Kirkland 1