Maara Nelson scores 18 points, Lake Region State College cruises to 73-43 win over Williston State College.

Lake Region State College buried Williston State College 73-43 Sunday in the final regular season game of the season in what head coach Danny Mertens hope will be the springboard into the postseason. 

“It’s a new season. We’re going to be playing Dawson (Community College) and it isn’t easy to be a team four times in one season.” The final two times the Royals and Dawson played, Lake Region needed 99 points to win the matchup in January and overtime to come away with the win back on Feb. 10. They will meet again on Friday, March 1 in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 13 women’s basketball tournament.

Mertens continued, “But I told them that the way we played against Miles, the second half against Bismarck State and really the whole game against Science, if we play like that, we have a shot. We have as good a shot as any but it’s a matter of which team wants to show up.” 

The team that made an appearance Sunday at the Sports Center built a 40-14 halftime lead behind a 23-7 second quarter and 61 percent shooting in the first half. The Royals (19-12, 7-7 MonDak) held the Tetons to just 4 of 31 from the field in the first half. Williston State College shot 26.4 percent from the floor for the game.

The Royals led by as many as 32.

“We are a better team than they are although they beat us out there (a two-point loss on Feb. 8) and I really didn’t have to say much. I figured we would respond. It was good to see the sophomores go out on the right note,” Mertens said. 

Maara Nelson scored 18 points and had six rebounds, two assists and three steals. Kendall Parker had three points, Erin Jorgenson had six points and Kayla Hinrichsen had seven points as they all played their final home game as a Royal.

“I want to thank my sophomores. They’ve done exactly what I’ve asked them and have kept Lady Royals basketball moving forward,” Mertens said.

Williston State College (7-23, 3-11) was led by Kristen Gould’s 13 points.

Chris Harris can be reached at and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ