Lady Royals win Mon-Dak title, Henningsgard reaches 1,000 points on Sophomore Night

Sam Herder
Kennedy Henningsgard scored 10 points in LRSC's 65-56 win Wednesday against Dakota College at Bottineau to join the 1,000 career points club.

By Sam Herder

Journal Sports Editor

Plenty of distractions surrounded the Lake Region State College women’s basketball team entering its final regular season game Wednesday against Dakota College at Bottineau. The Royals had a chance to win the Mon-Dak Conference title outright with a win. It was Sophomore Night. And one of those sophomores, Kennedy Henningsgard, was 10 points away from reaching 1,000 career points.

No problem for the Royals. They handled DCB in a 65-56 win that was more decisive than the final score indicates.

“There’s a lot of distractions today,” Royals head coach Danny Mertens said. “I wasn’t all there. This group is a special group to me. It’s always good to get a win. I’m glad this is over and done and now we’re on to a new season and it’s win or go home.”

The Royals used the first three quarters and the beginning of the fourth quarter to build a lead that reached 59-38 early in the fourth. DCB made a run to close the game, but didn’t get within a single-digit deficit until the final 20 seconds.

The win locks up another conference title for LRSC. This one may be a bit sweeter, though, as the Royals won’t have to share it in a first place tie.

“It’s a great feeling, especially earning it the right way,” Henningsgard said.

For Henningsgard, she was able to breathe a sigh of relief in the third quarter, scoring her 10th point of the game to join the 1,000 point club at LRSC.

“It feels good to get it out of the way,” Henningsgard said. “I definitely couldn’t have done it without my teammates, though. I’m honored that my time behind closed doors is being acknowledged. I have to thank my teammates and coaches for giving me the confidence and the green light to shoot. I’ve also had the privilege of playing on two really good teams the last two years, which helps.”

Along with Henningsgard, the Royals had two other players in double-digits with Cassidy Nelson and Jadyn Fee both scoring 13 points.

Take away the last eight minutes of the game, and LRSC had little trouble scoring.

The Royals made 11 3-pointers in the game, including going 7-of-14 in the first half. Fee, who was inserted into the starting lineup for the injured Megan Cantellano, stretched the floor from her post position and hit 3-of-4 3-pointers.

“Look at the 23 assists, it means we’re executing and getting open shots,” Mertens said. “You have the green light, if you’re open, shoot it. Everyone has the green light here.”

In all, the Royals had eight players score at least three points.

“This team has had someone different step up every night,” Mertens said. “Tonight: Jadyn Fee. To get 13 points and five assists out of her, that’s a good night. She accepted the challenge. I gave her some goals and she did well.”

LRSC finishes the regular season 24-6 overall and 11-1 in conference play. It’s the second straight 20-win season and conference title for the five sophomores in Henningsgard, Kelsey Schlenk, Shaina Stevenson, Megan Cantellano and Kristal Flowers, who transferred to LRSC this season.

“It’s my first recruiting class,” Mertens said. “Not that you want to forget any class, but you never forget your first recruiting class.”

As the Mon-Dak champs, the Royals were awarded the top seed in the Region XIII playoffs, meaning home-court advantage throughout.

The Royals first playoff game will be Wednesday at 7 p.m in the Sports Center.

Statistics

Jadyn Fee: 13 pts, 5 ast, 3 reb.

Cassidy Nelson: 13 pts, 9 reb

Kennedy Henningsgard: 10 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast

Helen Schuster : 9 pts

Shaina Stevenson: 8 pts, 4 ast