Royals go 2-1 at Sleep Inn Classic

Royals go 2-1 at Sleep Inn Classic

Article by Chris Harris, Devils Lake Journal Sports, November 12th, 2019

The Lake Region State College Royals went 2-1 over the weekend hosting the annual Sleep Inn Classic at the sportscenter.

Dion Ford and Eli Campbell combined to score 43 of the Royals 87 point total, but Gillette Community College slowly pulled away at the end to beat the Royals 99-87 Friday night in the opening day of the Sleep Inn Classic held at the Sports Center.

With the Royals (1-3) leading 6-5 with just 15 minutes left in the first half, the Pronghorns went on a 17-2 run to take a 22-6 lead. But trailing by 12, the Royals went on their own run and Ford's 3-pointer with 2:06 left in the half tied the game at 39-all. A Steven Rwahwire basket with a little over a minute remaining gave the Royals the one point lead.

The Royals went into halftime trailing 46-45 and went up three after a Rwahwire free throw. However, Gillette regained the lead after a Isaac Mushila basket and never trailed again.

Ford finished with 22 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor and nine rebounds. Campbell scored 14 of his 21 points in the first half and finished with four assists. Rwahwire had 13 points for the Royals who will play Turtle Mountain Community College on Saturday in Day 2 of the Classic. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Mushila shot 12-of-16 from the floor and finished with a game-high 25 points for the Pronghorns (3-0). Mushila also finished with eight rebounds. Tarig Eisa scored 21 points and Mason Archambault had 19 points and five assists for Gillette which will play Dakota College on Saturday at noon.

Seven players scored in double digits, led by Dion Ford's 25 points and 21 rebounds as the Royals (2-3) dismantled Turtle Mountain Community College in Saturday's nightcap. Ford went 8-of-14 from the field and also had five assists.

Medi Obang scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, including three consecutive 3s that put the Royals ahead by 43 points in the second half. Daveonte Davis scored 15 points and Domenik Block had 14 points as the Royals shot 55.7 percent from the field. The Royals will play Northland Community College on Sunday to close out the tournament.

Kieler Counts scored 14 points and Koby Azure finished with 13 points for the Mikinocks.

When it became urgent, Lake Region State College found a way to close out the Sleep Inn Classic with a win.

Eli Campbell's free throw with 1.2 seconds left lifted the Royals to the 74-73 come from behind win over Northland Community and Technical College Sunday, Nov. 10. It concluded the annual three-day, 11 game event from the Sports Center.

"We had so much better urgency, emotion and intensity in the second half," said Royals head coach Jared Marshall. "It wasn't what you envision but we'll take it."

Trailing by 10 with 14:05 left, the Royals began cutting into the deficit. A Medi Obang 3-pointer with 9:49 made it a three point game but Neal Garcia's 3 pushed the Pioneer advantage up to six. The lead remained five until a Leif Nelson (Devils Lake) 3 with 5:48 remaining made the score 62-60.

Dion Ford's layup on the Royals next possession tied the game at 62-all but Zach Meyer's basket gave the lead back to the Pioneers. Then ... Obang hit em.

Obang connected on 3s on consecutive possessions that turned a Royals deficit into a four point advantage.

"Medi hit some huge shots for us. ... Medi has been hitting those big shots his whole life. He and Eli aren't strangers to the big stage. They were there when we needed them and they came up big," Marshall said.

A Ford layup with 1:54 gave the Royals their largest lead of the night at seven but consecutive Pioneer 3s, one from Bakri Gubara and Brenson Alteme pulled Northland to within two, 72-70, with 37.1 seconds remaining.

Down three after Nelson went 1-of-2 from the line, the Pioneers called timeout with 14.2 left on the clock. Gubara got the ball on the inbounds play and drained a 3, tying the game at 73 with 8.4 remaining.

Campbell is fouled on the drive and made the first of two free throws to win it for the Royals.

Daveonte Davis scored 17 points and had five rebounds before being knocked out the game late in the second half. Obang was 4 for 7 from beyond the arc to finish with 16 points and Ford had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Royals who improved to 3-3 overall after closing out the final two days of the Classic with consecutive wins after losing to Gillette on Nov. 8.

"Overall, my biggest concern is the rebounding and that is something that wears on me. And our other thing is consistency. Sometimes we're the best team on the floor and we can do anything that we want and other times we get lazy defensively and don't execute offensively so I'm just talking to them about being consistent throughout the year," Marshall said.

The Pioneers out rebounded the Royals 46-32.

Gubara made five 3s to finish with a game-high 23 points and Meyer had 18 points and nine rebounds to pace the Pioneers.

There were only two lead changes for the game, the first after a Meyer 3 made the score 9-8 Northland.