There is always uncertainty with the beginning of a new season. Uncertainty about other teams, uncertainty about which players are going to stand out, uncertainty players will return to form right away and much more. However, anybody who watched the first three LRSC men's and women's basketball games this season one thing is certain, we are in for an exciting season of Royals basketball!
After a short hiatus, the MonDak Conference decided to bring back the pre-conference tournament, which was held, in New Town, ND at the 4Bears Event Center. Eight men's, eight women's teams competed over four days playing three games each.
Day one had both the men and women's basketball teams matched up against Williston State College. The women would play first and would start the season off the right way, with an 80-67 win. Telesia Manumaleuga established herself as someone to watch for the Lady Royals as she came off the bench to record 19pts, 4rebs, 2asts, 5stls and 3blks just stuffing the stat column. Jordyn Worley was two rebounds away from a double double recording 16pts 8 rebs. On the men's side, the Royals seemed overwhelmed by the Williston State Tetons. They would fall 84-58 in their opening game. Zac Olson would lead the Royals with 15pts 8rebs.
On day two, the LRSC women would square off against Bismarck State College. A slow start and a low scoring third quarter would doom the Lady Royals. Despite a 19pt 9reb effort from Maara Nelson, the women would fall 78-71 in the semi-finals. Heading the other way on the bracket, the men would match up against Dakota College at Bottineau in the semifinals of the consolation bracket. Led by Jordan Lynn's 15pt 10reb double double and a 16pt 7reb effort from Lamarr Wood, the Royals would maintain control from start to finish winning 78-63 over the Jacks.
The final day had the Lady Royals looking for a bounce back against Dawson CC. A big third quarter saw LRSC score 32pts and take control of the game. They followed that up with a stifling defensive effort in the fourth only allowing the Bucs 12 total points. Four of the five starters for the Royals scored double figures paced by Maara Nelson's 27pts leading them to an 85-74 victory. The men would take on Bismarck State College for the Consolation Championship. It was total domination by the Royals men, holding the Mystics to 60 total points and 0-14 from the 3pt line, helped them win the game 83-60. Led by a 3pt barrage from Jayden Komrosky 19pts and Zach Dahlen 15pts the two combined to make 6 of the Royals 9 threes en route to an 83-60 win.
Both teams would finish the weekend 2-1. Head Women's Coach Danny Mertens said, "I was really pleased with how we played this weekend. We came into the weekend with many question marks and very little practice time as a team. I thought we answered many of those questions and now have a better idea of who we are. I am looking forward to the rest of the season and seeing a lot more growth." On the men's side Head Coach Jared Marshall said, "I was a little disappointed with our overall effort and energy on day 1. We looked lost at times, however, after that we managed to turn things around and pick up two big wins. I thought we got better every single day culminating with a great team win on the third day. It felt like we had a different guy step up each day and I loved the production we got from our bench."
The Royals will be back in action this weekend at home for the Sleep Inn Classic. On Saturday the 10th, the women and men will play Gillette College at 6pm/8pm. Then on Sunday the 11th, they will play TMCC at 4pm/6pm.