Royals lose pair of non-conference games

After a season-opening win, the Watertown-Mayer boys’ basketball team dropped both of its games last week. The Royals fell to Delano, 80-41, on Tuesday, Dec. 4, and lost 80-63 to Glencoe-Silver Lake on Friday, Dec. 7.

Against Delano, the Royals hung in the game early at home, but the Tigers began to pull away as the first half wore on. Jacob Wandersee hit several early 3-pointers for the Royals to keep his team within 17-15, but things unraveled from there.

Delano put together a 30-4 run to close the first half and sink any hope the Royals had. The Tigers led 47-21 at the half.

We turned the ball over too much, and they made us pay,” Watertown-Mayer coach Bob Hennen said. “We had 18 turnovers in the first half. The second half was more of the same, as they just kept building on the lead and we could get nothing going.”

Defense was a problem for the Royals, who allowed Delano to shoot nearly 60 percent from the field. On the other end, the Royals shot only 30 percent.

However, it was Delano’s ball pressure that caused the most problems. The Tigers forced 25 turnovers over all and often kept the Royals from getting into their offense.

Going in, we knew if we did not handle pressure, we would struggle, and that’s what happened,” Hennen said. “Delano is a great team, and they beat us the way they did because of their great play. I give a lot of credit to them, but we also need to step up and handle pressure. It was a learning experience for many of our new players about how tough it can be some nights at the varsity level.”

Wandersee led the Royals with nine points. Jacob Grotbo added eight and Luke Sandquist chipped in with seven.

It’s early, and some of the flaws we have were exposed, but playing a team like Delano helps us get better,” Hennen said.

The Royals struggled on Friday as well, falling at home to Glencoe-Silver Lake, 80-63. Once again, the Royals hung around early, with the game tied at 17 and one point. However, GSL created some separation before halftime. The Panthers led 43-34 at the half, when they benefited from 6-for-10 shooting from 3-point range.

We tried mixing up some defenses, but their shooting and offensive boards really hurt us,” Hennen said.

GSL pushed the lead to 15 in the second half, with the Royals cutting it back down to nine on several occasions. However, the Royals were never able to dig much deeper than that, due in large part to 16 second half turnovers. The Royals also had 13 turnovers in the first half and 29 for the game.

Just too many unforced turnovers led to GSL breakouts and easy buckets,” Hennen said. “We played hard. It was more of a lack of mental execution and focus on both ends. We just have to keep getting better at the little things.”

Sandquist led the Royals with 19 points and 10 rebounds, with 14 of those points coming in the first half. Wandersee had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Barna Berenyi finished with 10 points and five rebounds and Grotbo had seven points.

The Royals will return to action on Friday, Dec. 14, when they take on Jordan on the road at 7:30 p.m. The Royals will also host Mound-Westonka on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 6:30 p.m., part of a doubleheader with the girls’ team. The Watertown-Mayer girls’ game will follow at 8 p.m.

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