There isn’t much time left to prepare for the upcoming Frontier Conference basketball season.
So from here on out, every game the Montana State University-Northern men’s and women’s basketball teams play is certainly important.
And tonight is no different as the Skylights host King’s College of Alberta at 6 and the Lights take on Kings at 8 inside the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse.
The Skylights (6-6) come into tonight’s game against the Eagles winners of three straight games, and this is Northern’s last home contest before Frontier play. The Skylights wrap up nonconference season with three games in Las Vegas next week.
And while Northern has evened its record for the season, the Skylights are still growing, and they are having to forge ahead without senior point guard and leading scorer Taylor Keller. Keller was originally suffered a knee injury three weeks ago in Salt Lake City, and re aggravated it last Wednesday in a game against UGF. So it isn’t known when she’ll be back in the Northern lineup, which means the Skylights go forward without her 18 points and six assists per game.
Still, Northern senior Samm Schermele is averaging 17 points per contest coming into tonight’s game, while junior guard Laramie Schwenke has also picked up the slack. Schwenke is running the point for Northern but also shooting well. Sophomore guard/forward Jordan Bruursema is also coming off a season-high 18-point performance in MSU-N’s last outing, and she and Schwenke will need to continue to help with the scoring for as Northern goes towards conference play.
Meanwhile, tonight’s men’s game between the Lights (8-4) and Eagles is also an important step in MSU-N’s building process. The Lights have won two straight games in convincing fashion after falling to highly-ranked Azusa Pacific on the road last weekend. While Northern is scoring plenty of points, it’s been the Lights’ defense that has really stood out the last two games. Northern has held its last two opponents under 30 percent shooting for the game, and that’s something head coach Shawn Huse wants to see more of tonight.
The Lights, while undersized, are starting to show signs of being a balanced offensive team. While guards Shaun Tatarka, Devin Jackson and LaVon Myers have done the bulk of the scoring this season, forward Chris Brown and Joe Simpson have really provided the Lights with stability in the paint. Brown is coming off a solid three-game stretch and was almost impossible for Concordia College to guard on Sunday night. Simpson also averages nine points and seven rebounds per game for the Lights.
Tonight’s games with King’s College tip from Edmonton tip off at 6 with the women’s game, and the men’s game is slated to start at 8.