Lake Region State men get win over DCB in final regular season game
By Sam Herder
Journal Sports Editor
Even if it wasn’t the last home game of the 2015-16 season for the Lake Region State College men’s basketball team, Wednesday’s matchup still could have been labeled Sophomore Night.
The four sophomores had a big hand in a LRSC’s 103-94 win against Dakota College at Bottineau. After being recognized before the game, Tom Kubank, AJ Nywesh, Ryan Clark and Dawson Peterson put on a show for the final time in the Devils Lake Sports Center.
Nywesh had 25 points, including 20 in the second half.
Kubank had 22 points and 11 rebounds, including two thunderous dunks in a row.
Clark had 14 points and 16 rebounds, including his last rebound right before the final buzzer that moved him to No. 1 on LRSC’s career rebounding list with 631.
Peterson had his usual solid stat line of nine points, six rebounds and two assists.
“That was as well as we’ve played,” Royals head coach Jared Marshall said. “You could tell we wanted it bad. I wanted it. The boys wanted it. Tip your hats to them, because they could’ve checked it in, but we didn’t. We had our letdowns, we weren’t perfect, but we battled and earned that win.”
LRSC played with spirited energy in hopes of snapping its 6-game losing streak. With Nywesh spending most of the first half on the bench with three fouls, Kubank stepped up for 16 first-half points.
“Tom really stepped up,” Marshall said. “And it wasn’t just him. Ryan was getting rebounds. He had some good first half points. We just had guys step up and that was the difference. I was truly happy that we went out and executed without AJ on the floor.”
Holding a lead the entire game, the Royals really picked up its momentum to close the first half. Clark found Kubank in transition for a smooth alley-oop play. Less than a minute later, Clark found Kubank slashing through the lane and fed him as Kubank rose for a 1-handed slam that got the crowd on its feet and the scoreboard to read 47-34.
“It fires you up and really gets the boys going,” Kubank said on his dunks. “You come out with a bit more intensity and it shows on defense.”
DCB made it interesting to start the second half, bringing the deficit to 55-50. But Nywesh came alive, single-handedly going on a 9-0 run to answer.
The Royals held a double-digit lead in the middle minutes of the second half, but the Lumberjacks wouldn’t go away.
DCB brought the game to 84-75 with four minutes to play and again at 94-85 with less than two minutes to play. The Royals, though, held on, making free throws down the stretch.
The Lumberjacks made three 3-pointers in the final 35 seconds, but free throws and Clark’s record-setting rebound sealed the game for LRSC.
“(Clark’s) a career double-double guy,” Marshall said. “Having him is going to be impossible to replace. He’s not the most athletic and above the rim, he just knows his body placement and where it’s coming off. He’s got the mindset for it.”
The Royals (19-11) begin the Region XIII playoffs Sunday as the No. 5 seed, traveling to No. 4 Bismarck State College.
“This gives us momentum heading into the playoffs,” Kubank said. “We were a bit down on ourselves and that really picked us up. We played with passion tonight and that’s what we need.”
AJ Nywesh: 25 pts, 3 ast
Tom Kubank: 22 pts, 11 reb, 4 ast
Ryan Clark: 14 pts, 16 reb
Ben Rennie: 17 pts, 7 reb
Dawson Peterson: 9 pts, 6 reb