Three things: what LRSC MBB must do to succeed this season

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Let’s cut to the chase. The Lake Region State Men’s Basketball team has momentum on their side. A 15-9 overall record during the 2020-21 campaign, coupled with a third-place finish in the Mon-Dak Conference, puts the Royals in a prime position to make even more strides this year. 

With the Royals slated to open their season against Jamestown on Nov. 1, here are three things the Royals must do to succeed on the court this season. 

The Lake Region State Men's Basketball team comes together for a post-practice huddle.

1. Build on the experience

An already dynamic unit returns four of its top five scorers from the previous year. Carson Henningsgard, Beijan Newbern, Ben Hoverson and James Sommer not only return to the ranks after a productive 2020-21 campaign but bring with them a steady scoring pedigree they will look to build on. All four players averaged eight points or more per game (12.0, 11.4, 9.1 and 8.2, respectively) and additionally averaged 20.0 minutes or more per contest last season. 

Although the team was not known for its scoring prowess last season (more on that below), Lake Region State Men’s Basketball head coach Jared Marshall believes his experienced core will learn from last year’s lessons and incorporate them into their mindset this season.  

“Last year was special,” Marshall said. “Two years ago, we had our first losing season in quite some time here at Lake Region State. It was a real bounce-back year, and we were really determined to get back to where we were and where we wanted to be. Lot of new faces and a new style of things. Really tough, hard-nosed team that went out there and won a lot of games and did some really good things. We are hoping to build on those this year.” 

2. Speed it up, but keep it simple

The Henningsgard-Newbern-Hoverson-Sommer scoring quartet will be critical toward the team’s success in more ways than one. To start, these four players all ranked inside the top five in terms of points per game last season. Even still, the Royals were not a high-scoring juggernaut. While Lake Region State’s 72.2 points per game blended well with their stingy transition defense, it was not an eye-popping total – this total was tied for 136th out of 183 NJCAA teams (Coastal Bend). 

Not to worry, though. While a station-to-station emphasis on the offensive side of the court will still be prevalent, expect the team to bump it up a notch in the speed and cutting department. Additionally, Marshall believes his team will develop more of a taste of getting to the basket with increased understanding regarding the fast-break. 

“We are going to fast-break a little bit more this year and try to look for more opportunities,” Marshall said. “Our team last year was more of a slow-it-down kind of team. We are still going to slow it down, maximize possessions and execute in the half-court and make teams guard us.” 

The Royals will still prioritize the defense. Water is also wet. Given the experience returning on the roster, however, expect the team to try out a few new things, too. 

3. Stay tough  

While the Royals will look to score more frequently, their bread and butter will always be on the defensive side. Lake Region State fans realized as much last season when the team allowed 68.0 points per game, tied for 30th out of 183 NJCAA teams last season (Southeastern). 

The Royals have illustrated the ability to crowd the glass and jam the inside lanes. With more seasoning under their belts, the Royals will look to once again be that tough team that prides itself on the defensive side. Should the Royals maintain this defensive awareness, they will be right back in the thick of things in terms of conference contention.