Lady Royals go 2-1 at Sleep Inn Classic

Lady Royals go 2-1 at Sleep Inn Classic

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

The Lake Region State College Lady Royals would play 3 games in 3 days as they hosted the annual Sleep Inn Classic in Devils Lake, ND.

The Royals couldn't overcome a turnover plagued, cold shooting night as the Pronghorns defeated Lake Region State in the first game of the Sleep Inn Classic Friday.

The Royals, who had 18 turnovers in the first half, finished the game with 29 and was 22-of-62 from the field. The Royals trailed by 10 at the half and after two free throws by Kayla Byrne with 4:18 left in the third quarter reduced the deficit to six, Gillette outscored Lake Region State 29-15 the rest of the game.

Stephanie Miller (North Star) finished with 13 points but was held to just two points in the second half. Both Byrne and Hailey Hewitt finished with 12 points apiece and Jadyn Pollert had 12 rebounds and seven assists for the Royals, who fell to 2-2 for the season. The Royals will play Iowa Western Community College on Saturday with 4 p.m. scheduled tip.

Sydney Prather scored 24 points and had 13 rebounds and Kobe King-Hawea scored 15 points, had nine rebounds, nine assists and five steals for the Pronghorns who have the first game on Saturday against Dakota College. Tip is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Lake Region State College used a stifling first half defense and got a career game from freshman Maddy Leaf as the Lady Royals bounced back from Friday's loss with a 94-74 win over Iowa Western Community College Saturday, Nov. 9 on the second day of the Sleep Inn Classic held at the Sports Center.

The Royals (3-2) held Iowa Western CC to 9-of-23 shooting in the first half and forced 23 turnovers to build a 46-25 halftime lead. Iowa Western was able to cut into the deficit late in the third quarter after a Hayley Berfield 3-pointer trimmed the Royals advantage to 13 with 2 minutes, 17 seconds left on the clock. The Royals led by 14 after the third quarter.

But a Kayla Bryne 3 with 7:18 left in the game increased the lead to 20 and putting the game out of reach.

Leaf scored a career high 20 points off the bench. She made only three shots from the field but went 12 for 18 from the free throw line. Stephanie Miller (North Star) was 6-of-11 from the floor, was a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line and also finished with 20 points. Miller also had four rebounds and five assists. Jadyn Pollert had 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Royals who will end the tournament on Sunday against the University of Jamestown's Junior Varsity squad. That tip is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Nyah Morris-Nelson scored 16 points and had eight rebounds for Iowa Western.

In a game that was representative of the weekend grind, Lake Region State College was on the cusp of giving up a lead that it had since three minutes into the ballgame but an intentional foul changed that.

Sophomore Stephanie Miller (North Star) stepped up to the line, made both free throws, then made a shot two possessions later that gave the Royals enough cushion to come away with the 62-48 win over the Jimmies junior varsity squad Sunday, Nov. 10 in the final women's game of the Sleep Inn Classic. The Royals finished the weekend winning the final two games after dropping the opener to Gillette Community College Friday night.

"We've played six games in 14 days, three games in three days and I knew we were out of gas and banged up a little bit but they hung in there and did what they needed to do to get the W," said head coach Danny Mertens.

A Jordyn Worley 3-pointer minutes into the contest were the only points scored until a Kayla Bryne 3 with 3 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter pushed the Royals lead to six. Sixteen total points were scored in the first quarter and the Royals led 26-18 at the half.

Both teams combined for 14-of-53 shooting during the first 20 minutes.

Trailing by 10 early in the third, the Jimmies inched their way back into the game, after Amanda Allen 3-pointer and a Anni Stier basket pulled the Jimmies to within three, 35-32, with 2:58 remaining in the period. The Royals' lead was three heading into the fourth quarter but Miller scored four of the Royals next six points, including the two intentional foul shots, and a Maddy Leaf basket gave the Royals the 11 point advantage.

Miller finished the game with 19 points and 10 rebounds, Worley had 11 points and both Bryne and Jadyn Pollert each finished with 10 points as the Royals improved to 4-2 for the season.

"To be 4-2 at this stage of the year I'm very happy with it ... It was a weekend of highs and lows but to win two out of three but overall happy," Mertens said.

The Jimmies, who got a team-high 12 points from Jalyn Helstad, finished the game shooting just 28.8 percent. The Royals shot just under 39 percent.

Lake Region State will be in Wahpeton for the NDSCS Classic beginning Friday, Nov. 15.