Rwahwire, Ford leads Royals to win over Bobcats to end skid

Chris Harris, DLJ Sports
Lake Region State College's Medi Obang is bodied in the air by Bryant and Stratton's Levi Scheuermann (30) during the first half of a NJCAA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 in Devils Lake.

Lake Region State College haven’t found much success recently.

Going into their game against Bryant & Stratton College out of Wisconsin, the Royals had lost three straight, allowing over 100 points in two of the games including a 29 point lost were the Royals scored 80 points themselves. So Lake Region used an unplanned makeup date to release the tension that losing can bring.

Steven Rwahwire scored 26 points, Dion Ford added 22 points and the Royals got all nine guys into the scoring mix as Lake Region defeated the Bobcats 104-97 Wednesday, Dec. 11 from the Sports Center. Lake Region State and Bryant & Stratton were originally scheduled to play during the Williston State Classic over the Thanksgiving weekend but the game was moved to Wednesday night due to a cancellation.

“It’s always good to get a win. We were on a three game losing streak so it’s nice to get off of that and get one on the positive side,” said Royals head coach Jared Marshall.

The game started unpromising enough for the Royals (6-8) as three consecutive turnovers right to open the game led to a four point deficit. However the offense began finding its stride and when a Leif Nelson (Devils Lake) basket with 12 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first half that put the Royals ahead by three, they never trailed again.

When the Bobcats (6-8) got closed the margin, Rwahwire and Ford took turns slamming the door on the comeback. Leading 30-27 with under four minutes left in the first half, Rwahwire’s 3-pointer, that was set up on the defensive end when Myles Arnold took a charge, put the Royals ahead six. Rwahwire’s two free throws with 31.1 seconds remaining before halftime put the Royals up 10.

After a 7-1 run by the Bobcats in the second half trimmed Lake Region State’s lead from 10 down to four. A Ford basket upped the advantage to seven. Two possessions later, Ford connected on a 3 that pushed the lead to eight with 14:18 left in the game.

Hanging on to a 90-85 lead with less than three minutes in regulation, a made Ford basket, followed by his free throw, made it an eight point game. It was part of an 8-2 Royals run.

Three consecutive 3-pointers by Bryant & Stratton’s Levi Scheuermann got the Bobcats within four with seconds remaining but the Royals were able to close it out.

“We didn’t finish the way we wanted but that’s kind of the first time we’ve been in that situation this year so it was good a experience for us,” Marshall said. “I’m happy with the way the guys played, they played hard. Our defense could’ve been a little better in the second half but we got it done.”

Nelson finished the game with 14 points, Eli Campbell had 10 and both Domenik Block and Josh Kihle had nine points as the Royals are now down to the ‘Nitro 9’ due to players leaving the program.

“This is what I’m trying to tell them. This is the team now. Everyone is playing, everyone is contributing and that’s the message I’m sending them right now. If those nine guys buy in, we’re going to be alright,” Marshall said.

Luke Taylor led the Bobcats with 20 points.

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com.