By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Behind its new up-tempo, perimeter-shooting offense, the MSU-Northern Lights basketball team opened its season with two wins over the University of Calgary Friday and Saturday at the MSU-N gymnasium.
I thought, for the first weekend, we played well, said head coach Tim Walker, who is in his fifth year at Northern. I think that we expected to play well. We worked hard defensively, and we had good intensity both nights.
Friday, Keith Carothers led the Lights with 29 points, including six 3-pointers, en route to a 93-58 win.
Also in double figures, Michael Claxton had 16 points, Chad Meyer had 13 and Bruce Stacy had 10 in the effort.
Russell Keller grabbed a team-high five rebounds in the contest.
Behind a swarming full-court press, the Lights notched 18 steals and caused 38 Calgary turnovers.
We were a lot quicker than Calgary, Walker said. Our defense caused them some problems.
The Dinos were held to just 10 second-half points.
We shot the ball pretty good, and played some pretty good defense, Walker said. We just disrupted them as much as we could.
Saturday, the Lights opened with an 11-0 lead on their way to a 108-78 win.
Stacy had a game-high 22 points, including six 3-pointers in the contest, four of which he canned in the second half.
Dustin Endsley tallied 21 points and grabbed three steals in the game, while Claxton notched 15 points and Mel Stubblefield and Carothers each chipped in 11 in the contest.
Powell Becker snatched six steals in the matchup for the Lights.
Six different Lights players nailed treys in the contest. The Lights also connected on 21-of-25 shots from the freethrow line.
We need to get in better shape, still, to run the type of offense we need to run, Walker said. The pace of the game was not quite fast enough to where we need to be.
The smaller Lights were outrebounded 55-34 Friday and 50-25 Saturday by the Dinos.
Thats a concern for us, Walker said. Saturday, they had 13 offensive rebounds in the first half, and we talked about that at halftime. In the second, they had only four. As big as were not, we need to box people out.
The Lights grabbed 19 steals Saturday and caused 27 Dinos turnovers in the victory.
My two assistants, Reece Gliko and Jon Hanson, did a great job during the week in preparation and scouting over the weekend, Walker said. We need to thank our game sponsors, Wild About Hair and the owner Stacy Doll and, also, Perfect Ten, and the owner Cheryl Darlington. We appreciate their support in the opening weekend games.
The Lights meet Regina at home Friday.