After a few preseason scrimmages, Watertown-Mayer boys’ basketball coach Bob Hennen was a bit concerned about his team’s defense. It sure didn’t seem to be a problem in the teams season-opener, though.
Watertown-Mayer held Dassel-Cokato to 29 points – including only 11 in the first half – as the Royals routed the Chargers 58-29 in the season opener Dec. 6 on the road. The Royals led by as many as 36 points at 58-22 before DC scored the game’s final seven points.
“The defense was solid and forced DC to take jumpers,” Hennen said. “We played good team defense for most of the game.”
One of the biggest questions for the Royals this season is who would step up offensively after the team lost 85 percent of its scoring to graduation. If the first few minutes of last Thursday’s game were any indication, senior guard Jacob Wandersee went a long way in answering that question.
Wandersee scored eight of the games first 10 points as the Royals opened on a 10-0 run, burying the Chargers early. Wandersee eventually finished with 20 points on six 3-pointers. Five of those 3-pointers came in the first half, when Wandersee scored 17 of his points overall, and the Royals cruised to a 36-11 halftime lead. “We did a good job of getting into the paint and then kicking out to shooters,” Hennen said. “We played with good tempo.”
The pace was a bit slower in the second half, but the Royals were equally as dominant. This time, it was senior Luke Sandquist’s turn to take control, as he poured in 10 of his 14 points in just 8 minutes of action after halftime. Sandquist added 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Royals.
Dan Dressel chipped in with six points for the Royals, while foreign exchange student Barna Berenyi added five points and four assists. Brandon Kuntz had five assists. Jake Smith led Dassel-Cokato with 10 points.
“It was a great start,” Hennen said. “I didn’t know what to expect with such a new team.”
The Royals also took on Delano on Tuesday in the team’s first home game, and will return to action at home on Friday against Glencoe-Silver Lake at 7:30 p.m.