Article by Chris Harris, Devils Lake Journal Sports, October 31st, 2018
Lake Region State College women's basketball team will have to do things a little faster this year. Personnel dictates it.
"A little bit," said Royals head coach Danny Mertens when asked if his coaching philosophy will have to change this season. "We'll have some new sets and some new things."
The Lady Royals, who last season made it back to familiar ground, the Region XIII championship game where they fell to North Dakota State College of Science, will have a smaller lineup for the 2018-19 season so Mertens is going to have to speed things up.
"I think we're going to be able to play as fast as I want to play and we haven't been able to do that the past two seasons. So the biggest outlook is that, hey, it's going to be a fast, moving pace," Mertens said.
Despite going small ball, Mertens believes this one of his best recruiting classes he's ever gotten with the local talent he brought into the program like Stephanie Miller of North Star and Jordyn Worley of Langdon, who were both selected as all-state players a year ago and District 8 player of the year in Dani Schwanke of Leeds.
"Within a 50, 60 mile radius, this is probably my best recruiting class," Mertens said. "It's a great group thus far and it's been a lot of fun."
Mertens will be looking heavily upon sophomore Maara Nelson, who last season played point guard out of necessity but with the new class, will be playing more at the off guard or small forward position.
"Our team goal is to make it back to the position we were last year (Region XIII title game) and actually win that game. It is always a goal to make it to nationals, to make it on the big stage obviously," Nelson said.
To take the next step, Nelson has a sharp idea of what the team has to do.
"We're limited in our post and forward positions so we're going to have to fill that and then always defense. But we have a lot of girls this season that are very versatile. Everyone will be able to play and that is exciting," said Nelson.