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IOWA CITY – Strong starts have been an emphasis for Regina all season under first-year head coach Jared Galpin.
The Regals used another first-quarter barrage to bury West Branch on Tuesday.
For the second time this season Regina used a strong first quarter to stave off West Branch, scoring 25 first-quarter points in a 63-48 win in a River Valley Conference South Division tilt.
“We stress getting off to a good start,” Jared Galpin said. “That’s a big focal point for us in practice we want to get off to a good start and get off on a fast pace and not play on our heels and the guys did a good job of that.”
Regina (14-3, 14-1) never trailed Tuesday while pushing its winning streak to a season-best six games.
The Regals made four of their five 3-pointers in the opening quarter while building what proved to be an insurmountable 25-14 lead after eight minutes.
“I thought it was good to come out with energy right from the get go,” Regina sophomore Masen Miller said. “We really got on top and maintained that through the whole game and didn’t have to worry about fighting back or getting out of a hole.”
Regina outscored West Branch 17-0 in the opening quarter and cruised to a 57-41 win in the the first meeting between the two teams back on December 15.
The first quarter wasn’t as lopsided on Tuesday but it still provided Regina more than enough cushion to complete the season sweep.
West Branch had a three-game winning streak end and dropped to 10-8 on the season and 8-8 in RVC play with the loss.
“We knew coming in that this game was going to be different than the way our first game started,” Galpin said. “We played extremely well the first half over there and so we knew they were going to come in and play us really hard on our home floor and they’ve been playing a lot better. I stressed to our guys they are a different team than they were back in the middle of December.”
Regina used a 15-4 run midway through the first quarter to break open a 4-4 game.
Five different Regals scored during the spurt that put Regina up 19-8 a little more than six minutes into the game.
“It’s all about energy basically,” Brauns said. “It’s important to come out early with energy and that starts with how we prepare ourselves.”
Senior Jocoa Kerschen had five of his team-high 13 points during the early spurt that gave West Branch a lead it would never relinquish.
Kerschen led a balanced attack that saw five Regina players score nine points or more including four in double figures.
Zach Seaman, Brauns and Miller all had 11 for Regina while Ryne Schooley added nine.
“That’s what makes our team challenging to guard,” Galpin said. “That’s what we stress is that any night it could be Masen, it could be Even, it could be Jocoa it could be Jake (Phillips) or it could be Zach. It could be any of those guys on any given night.”
West Branch got a double-double from junior Beau Cornwell who finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds but couldn’t fully recover from its slow start.
The Bears got within nine on a steal and layup by Brett Schiele with 3:01 left in the third quarter but would get no closer.
Ben Thompson had a game-high 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting but the rest of the Bears were just 11-of-40 from the field.
“We wanted to get up early and that started with playing good defense in the beginning and not letting their streaky guys get hot,” Miller said. “I think we did that pretty well.”
Regina 25 10 12 16 – 63
West Branch 14 9 12 13 – 48
West Branch (48) – Beau Cornwell 5-17 5-7 15, Brady Lukavsky 0-3, Brett Schiele 3-6 0-0 6, Tanner Lukavsky 1-8 2-4 4, Ben Thompson 8-12 3-5 19, Ted Bridges 2-6 0-0 4, Team 19-52 10-16 48.
Regina (63) – Zach Seaman 2-6 7-10 11, Bryce Barnett 0-0 1-2 1, Masen Miller 3-5 3-4 11, Jocoa Kerschen 4-9 4-4 13, Jake Phillips 0-3 0-0 0, Ryne Schooley 3-5 1-3 9, Even Brauns 4-7 3-3 11, Nick Wagner 0-1 2-2 2, Blake Berns 2-4 1-4 5, Team 18-40 22-32 63.
3-point field goals – ICR 5-11 (Miller 2-3, Kerschen 1-4, Phillips 0-1, Schooley 2-3); WB 0-16 (Cornwell 0-7, B. Lukavsky 0-2, Schiele 0-3, T. Lukavsky 0-2, Bridges 0-2). Rebounds – ICR 36 (Brauns 7); WB 26 (Cornwell 12). Turnovers – ICR 13; WB 11. Total fouls – ICR 16; WB 21. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.