Lady Royals take it to Lady Thunderbirds

J. Reed Anderson, Devils Lake Journal GM
Maara Nelson gets past a Thunderbird defender driving the low block.

“It was a tale of two games,” Lady Royals head coach Danny Mertens said after the game.And he was correct.Everything that went wrong against the North Dakota State College of Sciences Wildcats last week went right last night against the United Tribes Technical College Lady Thunderbirds.

The game started really slowly.Both teams were very cold and traded trips down the floor and misses until Lady Royal Emily Schafer broke the ice.The Royals went up eight nothing, then the Thunderbirds mounted a small attack making it 8-6, Royals.The quarter ended on a Royals 14-2 run and the Royals up 22-10.

The Thunderbirds narrowed the gap slightly to begin the second quarter, but R’rionna Brocks started taking it right to the heart of the Thunderbird front court, driving right through all the bodies to the hoop.By the 3:30 mark, the Royals had a 17-5 run and a 39-19 lead.Quick Royals hands and ill advised passing by the Thunderbirds in the second aided the Royals run.They did squander some excellent opportunities themselves with soft passing, but their defense washed the difference.

The Royals went into halftime up 44-23.

The third and fourth quarters were all Royals.They controlled the offensive boards and out rebounded the Thunderbirds defensively, and they hit from the arc consistently, going 10-21 on the night.The Thunderbirds had no matchups for the Royals, especially in the low block against the more athletic Maggie Gilbert.

The final score was 85-60, Royals.

“It was a tale of two games,” said Mertens.“This is the way I want us to play.We got to them early defensively and it showed.We won the battles of turnovers, rebounds, points off the bench, and managed to shut them down, which isn’t easy, because they can shoot the ball.But we shot the ball tonight and shot it well.We had three players in double figures and three more near double figures.Eleven of thirteen scored—that’s incredible.We had a good week at practice and it showed tonight.”