Three Takeaways: Day 2 of Lake Region Invitational

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Day No. 2 of the Lake Region Invitational emphasized on all three points from the first day. However, several more points were recognized as the second day continued onward. 

So, what were these points, you might ask? Well, let’s look into it, shall we? Here are three takeaways from the second day of the Lake Region Invitational. 

1. Keep calm

What is the cliché, again? It isn’t about how you start, but how you finish? There is some merit to this saying, of course. However, the expression can also be tweaked. 

How about this - it isn’t about how you start, but how you settle in afterward. 

Nerves can play a factor in any sports competition, least of all in the season-opener to the new campaign at hand. Take the Nelson County Chargers and Four Winds/Minnewaukan Indians. Sure, the Chargers already had a game to their name by the start of the tournament. Even still, the Chargers got complacent, and it cost them a game against Devils Lake JV on Dec. 2. While the Lady Indians won their first tournament game (which also acted as their season-opener), nerves prevented them from starting as strong as they would have liked. 

Now, fast forward to Dec. 3. Not only did both teams pick up a win, but they also looked efficient from start to finish. Again, speed bumps were there, but they were not as visible. 

It all revolves back to staying calm and not letting nerves get the best of you. 

“I think they are still settling, and I think the chemistry is getting there,” Four Winds/Minnewaukan head coach Sean Gourd said after the game. “Again, it is not where we want it to be, but that was our first game of the year. It took us time to gel, and today we were a little more ready to go. The girls wanted it. They wanted to get back on the court and get after it. Today, we really did.”

2. Dunseith has a power duo

Brailyn Davis and Tiyahna Trottier might not be well-known among casual fans, but they should. With their size, reach and sneaky speed, the pair created enough of a problem that, outside of Benson County guard/forward Quinn Neppl, the Wildcats could not find consistent lanes to the basket. 

“My goal was to be more physical than them,” Benson County head coach Kent Neppl said after his team lost, 49-43, to the Dragons. “Playing good hard-nosed man defense and be physical with them and see if we could get them out of the comfort zone. It didn’t work. They got tired, but we also got tired, and we just couldn’t keep the physicality.” 

The Dragons have a chance to take home a tournament trophy, and if they want to have a case against the Lady Indians, they will need to utilize this duo in a way that prioritizes both offense and defense. 

It is early, but the Dragons can make a statement. This statement will start and end with Davis and Trottier. 

3. Do not discount North Star

Yes, North Star only scored in the double-digits in one out of four quarters (they scored 15 in the third). However, their defense helped choke all rhythm the Larimore Polar Bears attempted to muster together. The Bearcats held the Polar Bears to single-digit point totals during the second, third and four quarters (seven, nine and six, respectively). 

Everyone knows that high-volume shooting will inevitably bear positive fruit for the Bearcats. However, the Bearcats might have another trump card up their sleeve. This trump card very well could be in their defense. 

“We could tell our legs were a little tired, and we really prided ourselves in defense at practice and challenged our kids to go full-court and move their feet,” North Star head coach Jill Vote said. “We are very happy for them that that is what got them back in the game because we are going to face those games where the shots aren’t going to fall.”