The Royals are 6-1 in Mon-Dak Conference play with a 98-80 win over Bismarck State College Wednesday.
By Harry Lipsiea
The Lake Region State College men's basketball team rebounded nicely Wednesday evening at home. No, the Royals weren't coming off of a loss. In fact, the squad had won its past three contests including two conference counters. Lake Region State College literally rebounded well by winning the battle of the boards all night long against Bismarck State College.
Out-rebounding the Mystics 61-to-37, the Royals took advantage of opportunities made available through offensive rebounds. Behind 28 boards on offense, the team accumulated 32 second-chance points.
These statistics were key in the team's 98-80 victory. With the victory, the Royals improved to 18-7 overall and 6-1 in Mon-Dak Conference play.
"We have been out-rebounded the last couple games and that's something I was disappointed in," Jared Marshall, second-year head men's basketball coach, pointed out. "Rebounding is something we take a lot of pride in. The past two seasons, we have been in the top 50 nationally in rebounding and that is something we want to continue to see happen. I thought we did a great job on the board tonight. It made a huge difference."
After defeating Bismarck State College in a tight comeback victory earlier this season, Lake Region State College was able to control the action throughout Wednesday. The Royals jumped out to an early 10-point lead thanks to a three by Cedric Boone and inside work by Harvey Barr and Ben Rennie.
The Mystics tried to battle back behind the dunking Usman Haruna. The 7-foot sophomore had two dunks for the road team pulling them within four points. A late run, however, by LRSC gave the team momentum. Rennie knocked down a pair of jumpers and Jordan Bolton added points off a steal and bucket. The Royals enjoyed a 50-38 lead at halftime. The second half was more of the same. Bismarck State College tried to battle back behind threes by Jesse Roberts and a jumper by Brody Nieuwsma. LRSC, however, continued to hold its lead behind its rebounding. Three straight boards by Barr led to points by Boone, Bolton and Rennie to make the score 76-62 in favor of the Royals.
The home team didn't stop there as Rennie added a floater along with threes by Boone and Bolton to give their squad a 23-point advantage. LRSC wrapped up the 98-80 triumph.
"It was a great effort," Marshall stated. "Anytime you can protect your home court, it's a great thing. Our guys are battling and making stops. We are on the cusp of something special, we just have to keep getting better."
Boone finished with 27 points to lead all scorers. Bolton added 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Rennie chipped in with 19 points while Barr netted 14 points and brought down 20 boards. Nic Fassos scored seven points while James Streeter, Jayson Edwards and Derrick Laudenbach chipped in with two points each. Sam Riley rounded out the scoring with a point.
"It was one of our better efforts of the season. We played better than we did against them the first time around," Marshall stated. "I thought we did a nice job moving the ball on offense and got a lot of good looks."
LRSC now gears up for a big conference battle Monday against Williston State College on the road. With a victory, the Royals would make a big step on the way to hosting a playoff game, Marshall said.
"Going on the road in the Well in Williston is never easy," the coach stated. "They play very well at home and have a lot of athleticism. We need to value every position and come out with a great defensive effort."