By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Five games into the season Regina was in need of a boost.
The Regals needed a jump start after a 2-3 start to the season that included a pair of three-point losses.
A matchup with long-time rival West Branch proved to be just what Regina needed to get the blood pumping.
Regina jumped to an early lead and never let up on Friday in a 76-62 win over West Branch in a River Valley Conference south division matchup at Regina.
“We played with a lot more energy,” Regina junior Jake Phillips said. “Playing West Branch, we knew they were a great ball club and we just wanted to show them that we are better than we were showing at the beginning of the year.”
Phillips led three Regina players with at least 17 points with a team-high 22 as Regina rebounded from a 61-58 overtime loss to Monticello on Tuesday.
Regina junior Jake Phillips
The Regals rallied from a 14-point four quarter deficit on Tuesday to force overtime before dropping to 2-3 on the season.
There was no need for a late rally on Friday as Regina (3-3) displayed a renewed energy while improving to 3-2 in RVC play.
“We played with passion in the fourth quarter against Monticello when we were down 14 points,” Regina coach Stu Ordman said. “We talked to them about playing with passion all the time.”
Regina used an 11-2 run in the second quarter to take a 30-19 lead and never let the Bears get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Cooper Kabela turned in another monster performance, pouring in a game-high 30 points and grabbing 17 rebounds but it wasn’t enough as West Branch dropped to 4-3 on the season and 3-3 in RVC with its second straight loss.
“Regina played with a lot more passion than we did,” West Branch coach Tom Burger said. “I thought that was the difference.”
Regina shot a season-high 57 percent from the floor on Friday, including a scorching 63 percent in the second half.
Phillips had 16 of his team-high 22 points in the second half and didn’t miss a field goal attempt in the final two quarters.
Jake Phillips went and just played terrific, particularly in the second half,” Ordman said. “He played well both offensively and defensively.”
The 6-foot-1, junior guard entered averaging 5.8 points per game.
Phillips had 11 points in the third quarter alone, scoring nine consecutive Regina points as the Regals built a 56-42 lead.
He made all five of his field goal attempts in the third quarter as Regina went 10-of-15 from the field in the quarter.
“We just want to play as a team and get everyone involved,” Phillips said. “We want to move the ball around and play together that is mostly what we are trying to go for.”
Regina led 19-15 after an up and down opening quarter built the lead to 35-25 at the half despite 16 first-half points from Kabela.
Regina led by as many as 17 in the third quarter following a Jocoa Kerschen layup with 35 seconds left.
“Tonight, I don’t really know what happened, they went on a couple of runs and all of a sudden things got out of hand,” Kabela said. “
West Branch cut the lead to nine on a pair of Ben Thompson free throws with 2:40 left but could get no closer.
Kabela finished 12-of-19 from the floor on his way to 30 points while sophomore Beau Cornwell added 15 points.
“Cooper is a terrific player, He has gotten better each year,” Ordman said. “He’s a tough matchup and they do a good job of looking for him.”
Kerschen had 18 points and freshman Even Brauns had 17, including a pair of emphatic slams late in the fourth quarter, for Regina.
Freshman Masen Miller chipped in with eight points as seven different Regals scored.
“We knew (Ryne) Schooley could score and Kerschen could score but they all lit it up tonight,” Burger said. “Anytime in a West Branch and Regina rivalry we know we are going to get their A game and I didn’t think we brought our A game. We have work to do and we don’t have any time to practice before our next two games.”
West Branch 15 10 17 20 – 76
Regina 19 16 21 20 – 62
Regina (76) – Masen Miller 2-3 2-2 8, Jack Jensen 3-6 0-0 6, Jocoa Kerschen 7-14 2-2 18, Zach Seaman 0-2 0-0 0, Jake Phillips 10-14 1-2 22, Ryne Schooley 1-6 0-2 3, Sam Stein 1-1 0-0 2, Even Brauns 8-10 1-3 17, Team 32-56 6-11 76.
West Branch (62) – Beau Cornwell 4-17 5-7 15, Tanner Lukavsky 2-6 1-1 5, Brett Schiele 3-8 0-0 8, Cooper Kabela 12-19 6-8 30, Ben Thompson 0-3 2-4 2, Ted Bridges 1-5 0-0 2, Team 22-58 14-20 62.
3-point field goals – ICR 6-13 (Miller 2-2, Kerschen 2-6, Phillips 1-3, Schooley 1-2) WB 4-19 (Cornwell 2-9, T. Lukavsky 0-1 Schiele 2-6, Thompson 0-2, Bridges 0-1). Rebounds – ICR 31 (Phillips 9) WB 36 (Kabela 17). Turnovers – ICR 10 WB 13. Total fouls – ICR 18 WB 16. Fouled out – ICR (Brauns) WB (T. Lukavsky). Technical fouls – ICR (Brauns).