Lady Royals close out fourth quarter to defeat Williston State College

Sam Herder

By Sam Herder

Journal Sports

The pattern lately for the Lake Region State College women’s basketball team has been big fourth quarters propelling them to victory.

The Royals (19-6, 6-1) did it again Sunday, outscoring Williston State College (8-16, 3-5) 24-13 in the final quarter for a 68-59 Mon-Dak Conference win.

“We got off to a slow start in the first half and that’s how it’s been going lately,” LRSC head coach Danny Mertens said. “Second half we found what we needed to do. We’ve had some huge fourth quarters lately. It seems that’s the way it’s been rolling. Hopefully one day we can put it all together.”

A game after allowing 104 points in Bismarck, the Royals had solid pressure defense against the Tetons. The offense wasn’t able to feed off the defense, though, as Williston State held a 29-22 lead at one point in the second quarter.

The Royals were down again in the third quarter 41-34 before they came alive.

“Defensively I was satisfied in the first half, we just couldn’t get going offensively,” Mertens said. “I’ve got to give credit to the kids. We hung in there.”

The spark LRSC needed came from Helen Schuster off the bench.

Schuster scored five points in the final two minutes of the third quarter to bring the deficit to 46-44. Her 3-pointer two minutes into the fourth quarter tied it at 49.

Two Kristal Flowers free throws gave the Royals a 52-51 lead with six minutes, 54 seconds remaining. That lead would hold.

LRSC began to pull away late when Cassidy Nelson completed an and-1 to give the Royals a 61-55 lead. The dagger came when Megan Cantellano buried a 3-pointer with a minute, 24 seconds to go up 66-57.

The Tetons only managed two points in the final minute as the Royals sealed the win.

“That’s a good win,” Mertens said. “You have to win at home and play .500 on the road to be successful, and that’s what we’ve done so far.”

Kennedy Henningsgard led LRSC with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Nelson added 11 points and nine rebounds. Shaina Stevenson and Schuster both scored 10 points as the Royals were well balanced again offensively.

“We have four girls in double figures, which has been big for us,” Mertens said. “Helen was the one who stepped up today. That’s big for us. Again, it’s been someone different every night. There’s a lot of weapons there. If we ever get clicking, oofda.”

LRSC travels Thursday to Dawson Community College.