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Iowa Lakes to face Owens CC for ‘third time’ at Nat’ls

Lakers make fourth trip to Div. II Tourney

March 15, 2013
by David Swartz - Managing Editor , Estherville Daily News

The Iowa Lakes Men's Basketball Team will make its fourth trip to the NJCAA D-II National Tournament next week.

And while Owens Community College may be a new school for the 2012-13 Laker squad, the two teams have met twice in the national tournament.

The Express faced Iowa Lakes in the 1991-92 national championship game and won 105-86. The Express also defeated Iowa Lakes in the 1993-34 quarterfinal. The last appearance Iowa Lakes made at the tournament was in 2000.

Tuesday's game starts at 11 a.m. and can be viewed free through web streaming as well as heard on KILR radio.

Iowa Lakes takes a 26-6 record into the tournament and finished the season ranked 11th.

The Express (24-8 overall) received the eighth overall season and were given the Lakers as an opponent through a draw. The tournament committee ranks the top eight teams and then does a blind draw for opponents of those top eight teams from the remaining teams.

Looking at Tuesday's contest, coach Troy Larson sees a very good team in Owens.

"They're big, strong, fast and athletic," Larson said.

Larson said one of their stars is James Kelly, a 6-7 sophomore power forward who is being recruited by both ACC and Big 12 schools.

"He can shoot from the perimeter and can attack the basket," said Larson.

Larson also said their point guard, 6-3 freshman Joe Retic, is another player to watch.

"As a team, they want to isolate you and the moment you try to help, they kick it out for a three," said Larson. "They went 15-of-30 from 3-point range in their regional final."

The Express won their region with a 99-84 win over Lakeland Community College and are on a five-game win streak.

"They compete hard and defend well around the basket, whether they block the ball or strip it from you," said Larson.

The Laker coach said his team just needs to do what it's done all year only better.

"We have to be sound in our defensive transition and do a good job rebounding," he said. "All five guys have to rebound. We also need to identify shooters so when they do drive to the basket, our help recovers and makes them shoot a contested shot."

Larson said the Express prefer an up-tempo game.

While the Lakers have played that style, Larson said his team can't panic and let Owens dictate the tempo.

"It's not any different from the rest of the year," said Larson.

The winner of Tuesday's game take on the winner of top-ranked Mott Community College and Central Community College at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The losers play at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Lakers returned just two sophomores from last year's squad-6-1 guard Kevin Larson from New Ulm, Minn., and 6-8 center Josh Schaben from Harlem.

But the Lakers added some key sophomore transfers including Kelly Madison, a 6-4 forward from Des Moines and Mark Miedema a 6-6 center from Sioux Center. Madison is a starter along with Larson and Schaben. Also starting are 6-2 guard Ben Shellim, a 6-2 freshman guard from Melbourne, Australia and Deondre Parks, a 6-2 freshman guard from Flint, Mich.

Miedema, along with Diamontae McKinley, a 6-1 freshman guard from Milwaukee, Wis., , Colton Neff, a 6-2 freshman guard/forward from West Jordan Utah and Tate Harmon, a 6-2 freshman guard from Waterville, Minn., all contribute minutes off the bench. Also on the bench is 5-10 freshman guard Justin Murphy from Lake Park.



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