The Watertown-Mayer girls’ basketball team picked up its first win of the season last week, beating Delano 50-44 on the road on Tuesday, Dec. 4. However, the Royals also fell in another close game, this time to Jordan on Friday, Dec. 7. The Jaguars beat the Royals 63-58. The Royals are now 1-3 on the year, but the three losses have come by an average of just 5.3 points.
The Royals never trailed on Tuesday against Delano, racing out to a fast start. After the teams exchanged baskets in the early going, Watertown-Mayer used a 16-0 run to take a 19-2 lead. The run started with back-to-back 3-pointers from Chelsea Wandersee, who added another three later during the run, and also included back-to-back hoops from Kate Theisen.
The Royals led 30-19 at halftime, but Delano began to climb back into the game in the second half. A 14-5 run to open the half cut the Royals’ lead to 35-33, but the Royals held off the surge. Two free throws from Theisen with 3:40 left gave the Royals a six-point lead, but Delano cut the lead to a single point, 43-42, with with 2:12 left to play. However, Wandersee came up big once again, hitting back-to-back threes to push the lead to 49-42 with just over a minute left, and secure the win for the Royals.
“Chelsea hit some crucial threes, especially early on in the first half, and then later in the game,” Watertown-Mayer coach John Rosholt said. “That was big, getting two kids in double figures. We need to see more of that.”
Wandersee finished with a team-high 23 points, and Theisen had 16. Claire Killian added four for the Royals. Liz Miller led the Royals with nine rebounds, and Theisen had eight. Fisher, Wandersee and Killian all finished with four rebounds. Theisen had four steals and Fisher had three, while Theisen had a team-high five assists.
Rosholt also credited Miller with a strong defensive game against one of Delano’s rising stars. He said it was part of a good overall team defensive effort.
“It was the first game that we defended really well,” Rosholt said. “We took away their transition baskets. Once we did that, we forced them to play in the halfcourt, and I thought we did very well in the halfcourt defending them. They’re a long team, and we did a nice job on the boards.”
While the Royals got off to a fast start in Tuesday’s win over Delano, the exact opposite was true in Friday’s game against Jordan. This time, Hannah Johnson hit a three to open the game for the Royals, but Jordan scored the next 15 points to take a 15-3 lead. The Royals still trailed by 12, 27-15, with 2:28 left in the half, but quickly closed the gap before halftime. The Royals used a 10-4 run to close to within 31-25 at the break.
Jordan quickly pushed the lead back to as many as 12 points in the second half, but the Royals wouldn’t go away. The Royals closed to within six points on several occasions in the final minute, but just weren’t able to come all the way back.
The Royals had three players in double figures, led by Theisen with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Johnson added 14 points and Killian had 11. Wandersee also had nine points. Killian had six rebounds and three assists.
“We did not play the pace of the game that we need to play,” Rosholt said. “We gave up 63 points, and that’s just too many for us to give up. We need to get that in the 40s and 50s.”
The Royals opened a busy week this week with a home game against Belle Plaine on Tuesday. Watertown-Mayer will return to the court on Thursday, Dec. 13, when the Royals travel to take on Tri City United at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Royals will also take part in a doubleheader with the boys’ team, playing at 8 p.m., immediately following the boys’ game, which is slated to start at 6:30 p.m. The Royals will also travel to LeSueur-Henderson on Tuesday, Dec. 18 for a 7:30 p.m. tip.