The Lake Region State College men and lady Royals took on the Lumberjacks from Dakota College at Bottineau last night, Wednesday, in their last home game of the season. The MonDak Conference playoffs start next week. The men Royals are sitting at #3 seed after their win tonight, but the Lady Royals have to hope for a Dawson loss, otherwise it will mean a three-way tie and a couple of coin tosses. If Dawson loses, the Lady Royals are #3, but if they win and the coin falls wrong, the Lady Royals could wind up #4 seed.

The Lake Region State College men and lady Royals took on the Lumberjacks from Dakota College at Bottineau last night, Wednesday, in their last home game of the season.  The MonDak Conference playoffs start next week.  The men Royals are sitting at #3 seed after their win tonight, but the Lady Royals have to hope for a Dawson loss, otherwise it will mean a three-way tie and a couple of coin tosses.  If Dawson loses, the Lady Royals are #3, but if they win and the coin falls wrong, the Lady Royals could wind up #4 seed.

The Lady Royals ruled the boards tonight.   The first quarter was pretty even, and the Lady ‘Jacks took an early lead, going on an 11-0 run to do it.  The quarter ended with the Lady Royals up by five, 20-15.

The second quarter, and for the following two, the Royals dominated boards, and that’s what really got them the win.  They pulled down offensive rebound after offensive rebound—the ‘Jacks couldn’t get close to a board.  And this was a good thing because they (and the ‘Jacks) were dismal shooting from long range.  The distance between the two teams was established in the second quarter with the Royals outscoring the ‘Jacks 18-6.

The Royals pulled down 33 rebounds to the ‘Jacks 15 in the first quarter, and 18 offensive rebounds to the ‘Jacks’ one.  The Royals converted those offensive boards into 16 points.  Shooting, especially long distance was, as said before, dismal. The Royals went 2-17 in the first half, and the ‘Jacks 2-10.  But, the Royals went into halftime up by 17, 38-21.

The third quarter was more of the same on the boards, but the ‘Jacks mounted some offense and kept the quarter’s scoring differential at five points, but it meant a Royals 22 point lead going into the fourth, 57-35.

The differential in the fourth was only three points, so the ‘Jacks did a good job with the ball again in the fourth, but the Royals overall points off turnovers, their rebounding, and their second-chance points all was just too much.  The final score was 75-50, Lady Royals.

Head coach Danny Mertens said the play on both sides of the ball is what he’s been waiting for.  “We’ve been harping on rebounding, especially offensively,” he said, “and tonight we got on the boards.  Those first half second-chance points made the difference and that was all offense.  Our defense was a little light the first quarter, but the second quarter it picked up and that’s what did it for us.  The Lumberjacks are a good team.  They beat Wapheton last week by four points, so this was no easy game.  Now we’re ready for second season.  I think everything has come together at the right time.  We’re in great shape.”

Maara Nelson led the Lady Royals with 18 points and nine rebounds, and four assists.  Emily Schafer had 17 points and nine boards.  Annie Jorgenson, who was really cold and shooting early tonight, still wound up with a double-double, 15 points and 12 boards.  R’rionna Brock had five points and led with six assists, and Maggie Gilbert had seven point and four assists.

 

The Royals men didn’t look to promising.  But then, the Lumberjacks had their problems, too.  The game was scoreless, and not for lack of shooting, for the first three and a half minutes of the first half.  The Royals would take the ball down the court, stop at the arc and launch one.  The Lumberjacks would get the rebound, come down to their end, run some plays, work the ball into the paint and watch the three-footer roll of the rim and the routine would begin again.

Head coach Jared Marshall changed his personnel and put in Harry Reemst and Kyle Henningsgard and the temp changed for the Royals.  The Royals got some stops and Reemst especially found a way through the paint.  They got to with four points, 17-13, but turnovers provided the momentum for the ‘Jacks, and they went up 24-13.

The Royals got a little spark near the end of the half and went on an 8-3 run to close out the half only down six, 28-21.

It really looked like the ‘Jacks dominated the first half, but the stats showed different.  It was the time of possession.  The Royals were running an gunning for a one and done from the arc, and the ‘Jacks slowed the game at their end working the ball.  The Royals shot 25.7 percent in the first half, but the ‘Jacks only shot 30.3 percent.

The spark stayed alive for the Royals to start the second half.  They went on a 9-3 run and pulled within one, 31-30.  Turnovers worked against the Royals and the ‘Jacks used them to make it 37-30.  Then, about the 12:30 mark, the Royals went on a 19-9 run and got their first lead of the game, 40-39.  Then the ‘Jacks went up three, the Royal retook the lead, and it was neck in neck the rest of the way—two points, a tie, two points, a tie.

There were just over four minutes left and the Royals jumped to a five point lead, 58-53.  Lamarr Wood got a pass and a wide path through the paint and slammed home the ball for a definitive two and a 60-53 lead.  But the ‘Jacks weren’t out of it.  A stop, a pop, a three, and a mid-court steal with a resounding flush to tie the game at 60.

The game was tied at 62 with 40 seconds left.  The ball went to Nick Fassos out at the perimeter.  The ball arc and touched nothing but net for the lead, 65-62.  Fassos got fouled twice and went four for four.  The ‘Jacks hit one more bucket but time ran out and the Royals held on 69-65.

“It was a nail biter,” said head coach Jared Marshall.  “But we made the change at halftime and they did it.  I went in and said, ‘There’s nothing I can draw up that will work.  You guys just gotta take the ball to the hoop.’  And they did.  We got the ball to the hoop and the defensive stops we needed.  Any time you hold a good team like them to 60 points, your defense got the stops you needed.  Nick Fassos came out strong at the end.  That was big, the three and the four at the line.  That sealed it.  I think we’re ready for playoff time.”

Cedric Boone led the Royals with 12 points, eight boards, and four assists.  Nick Fassos had 12 points, four boards, and four assists.  Harvey Barr had five points and seven rebounds.