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Lake Region men are on roll

Lake Region State College split a pair of Mon-Dak Conference men's basketball games over the weekend, winning at Miles City Community College before losing at Dawson Community College.

Lake Region State College split a pair of Mon-Dak Conference men's basketball games over the weekend, winning at Miles City Community College before losing at Dawson Community College.

But the split was noteworthy.

Lake Region's win at Miles City was the 20th of the season for the Royals. It marked the second straight season Lake Region has won 20 games, the first time the Royals have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons since the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons.

"We have the program going in the right direction," Lake Region coach Mark Graupe said.

And the Royals may be in line for another 20-win season next year as Lake Region will return a solid nucleus of players - led by Travis Mertens, a 6-foot-5 former Devils Lake High School standout who is averaging 19.6 points and 10.5 rebounds.


"I've always had high expectations for Travis," Graupe said. "But I hear coaches say, 'He's even better than I thought.'"

The 20-7 Royals are off until a Feb. 21 game against Williston State College. On Feb. 28, the Royals will host North Dakota State College of Science-Wahpeton. The Wahpeton school is ranked in the NJCAA national poll with a 25-1 record.

North Dakota State College of Science's lone loss came against Lake Region in a Mon-Dak Conference tournament in Miles City.

NDSCS is the Region XIII favorite. The Royals have split with the Wildcats this season, beating them in Miles City before losing in Wahpeton.

"Wahpeton is in the driver's seat," Graupe said. "We've given them two good games. The second time, we led them until the three-minute mark. Then the wheels fell off. And that was at their place. We've led 77 of the 80 minutes we've played Wahpeton."

The Royals are shooting for the No. 2 seed in the Region XIII tournament. Under the most likely scenario, NDSCS will finish No. 1, followed by Lake Region and Williston State.

Lake Region would host Williston, with the winner traveling to NDSCS-Wahpeton for the Region XIII title. That winner will host the Ohio junior college champion, with the winner advancing to the NJCAA tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.

Besides Mertens, the Royals also have received solid seasons from guard Marlo Davis (15.2 ppg), Ola Adegboruwa (15.0 ppg), Justin Thomas (10.2 ppg) and 6-foot-9 center Veljko Lalovic (9.2 ppg).


Davis, who is from Toronto, has received some Division I recruiting interest, Graupe said.

But Mertens, Adegboruwa and Lalovic all are scheduled to return next season, giving the Royals a shot at a third straight 20-win campaign.

"It's a great nucleus coming back," Graupe said. "If we put some nice pieces of the puzzle together, I don't see why we can't keep this program going strong."

Mayville earns

another title

With a win Thursday against last-place Dakota State, Mayville State will win the Dakota Athletic Conference men's basketball title outright.

The Comets clinched a share of the league title late Saturday night with a 70-57 win against Valley City State. Mayville is 10-3 in the league and 19-8 overall.

Mayville already has earned home-court advantage throughout the DAC postseason tournament.


"It's been a little bit of an up and down year for us," third-year Mayville coach Craig Smith said. "But we've won seven of our last eight. A big reason for that is chemistry. Our roles now are a lot more clearly defined."

Mayville also won the DAC regular-season title last season. Under Smith, the Comets have advanced to the NAIA Division II national tournament the past two seasons.

A third trip is likely, considering Mayville's national ranking. The DAC postseason tournament champion automatically qualifies for the NAIA tournament, but there also are eight at-large bids available.

A big reason for Mayville's success has been the play of 6-foot-5 forward Monty Rogers, who is averaging nearly 19 points per game.

"He can do everything," Smith said. "Last year, he was the league's defensive player of the year, a first-team all-conference player and third-team All-American. He has a great shot at league MVP this year.

"And I'd be very surprised if he's not playing professionally somewhere next year. He's 6-5 and very athletic."

Cichy's advisor

refutes rumors

UND recruit Mike Cichy recently left the U.S. Under-17 team to return to the Boston Junior Bruins of the Eastern Junior Hockey League - his previous team.

The move prompted much speculation that Cichy would decide against going to college and instead play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he was a high draft pick.

His family advisor, Eddie Ward, said that's not necessarily the case.

"We've been getting a lot of calls," Ward said. "There are a lot of rumors and there is a lot of speculation out there. None of it is true. (Cichy) committed to North Dakota. He hasn't talked to anybody. He really hasn't given it any thought. He's just focused on playing right now."

Cichy, a forward, is schedule to come to UND in 2008.


-- UND won the Ted Nelson Classic at Minnesota State-Mankato men's track meet Saturday. Individual Sioux winners included Ryan Chappell (60 dash), Skip Gilson (mile), Matt Gerszewski (800), Lee DeKrey (3,000), Richie Spitsberg (5,000) and Creighton Schroyer (shot put). The Sioux scored 213½ points. Mankato was second at 213.

-- UND came away with five-first place finishes in Saturday's Ted Nelson Classic women's track meet at Minnesota State-Mankato. UND winners included Heidi Evans (800), Jessica Messer (1,000), Margaret Landberg (5,000), Jessica Clausnitzer (60 hurdles) and Michelle Burgard (long jump). The Sioux finished second with 146½ points. Mankato won the meet with 187 points.

-- North Dakota State will open its baseball season Sunday at Kansas. The opener was originally scheduled for Wednesday but expected inclement weather pushed back the game. Kansas, the defending Big 12 champions, is 7-1.

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