Lady Royals gun down BSU, advance to Region XIII finals

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Ashley Knecht shoots the layup.

If anyone had questioned the Lake Region State College Lady Royals’ toughness, they needed only watch Tabitha Vigen and Becca Scherr on Wednesday evening to pretty much feel they have a blue tights and a red cape on underneath their uniform.

Vigen and Scherr, both game-time decisions by LRSC head coach Duane Schwab as to whether they would play, shook of nagging knee injuries and helped carry Lake Region State to a convincing 88-75 win over the Bismarck State Mystics in the Region XIII semifinal matchup in the Devils Lake Sports Center.

Backed by the play of the two guards, and a dominating effort inside from Leslie Hairston and Jordyn Kirk, the Lady Royals used a 10-2 run at the end of the first half to subdue Bismarck State and extend their season.

With the win, the Lake Region State women improved to 24-6 and, more importantly, earned a berth in the Region XIII championship against the Williston State Lady Tetons.

The Lady Royals controlled the tempo early in the Mon-Dak Athletic Conference matchup. Hairston, a freshman from Glendale, Arizona, pushed in back-to-back baskets midway through the first half and helped propel the Lady Royals to a 10-6 cushion.

My’Kale French tossed in a basket moments later to cap an 8-0 Lake Region State run.

Bismarck State fought its way back, however. The Mystics answered Lake Region’s run with one of their own, reeling off a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to grab a stunning 16-12 cushion.

Hairston finished the contest as one of two LRSC players with double-double performances, collecting a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Sarah Shafer, freshman Jonie Wipf and Ashley Knecht came off the bench late in the first half and delivered blows that sparked a 14-7 run over the final 4:27 of the half that all but sank Bismarck State. Shafer buried a pair of short jumpers that helped the Lady Royals fight to within 35-34.

Knecht and Shafer both tallied 12 points in the game. French added 10.

Wipf and Knecht followed moments later with back-to-back shots that started a 10-0 LRSC run that sent the Lady Royals into the half holding a 42-36 advantage.

The Lady Royals lit up the floor from the field in the first half, hitting on 53 percent of their attempts.

Lake Region State, backed by the play of Kirk, Vigen and Scherr, closed out the contest with a commanding 46-point second half effort.

Kirk finished the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Vigen, who sat out much of the Lady Royals’ game against the North Dakota College of Science, finished with five points. All five points came in the second half.

Despite playing with a sprained MCL, Scherr chalked up six points.

With the loss, Bismarck State closed out its season at 14-14.