Royals win three straight

Kate Theisen splits a pair of Belle Plaine defenders for an easy layup during a home game last week. Claire Killian dishes off a pass during a game against Belle Plaine last week. Watertown-Mayer's Hannah Johnson plays defense against a Belle Plaine player during a home game on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Liz Miller drives to the basket during last Tuesday's home win over Belle Plaine.
Watertown-Mayer's Hannah Johnson plays defense against a Belle Plaine player during a home game on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

The Watertown-Mayer girls’ basketball team improved to 4-3 last week, winning all three of its games, including the final two in fairly easy fashion. The Royals started the week on Tuesday, Dec. 11, with a 61-50 home win over Belle Plaine. The royals also defeated Tri City United 57-36 on the road on Thursday, Dec. 13, and closed the week with a 61-40 home win over Mound-Westonka on Saturday, Dec. 15.

“We’re getting a little more comfortable with each other,” Watertown-Mayer coach John Rosholt said. “We’re starting to understand where we’re supposed to be on both the offensive and defensive end.”

Royals 61, Belle Plaine 50

The week started for Watertown-Mayer with a Minnesota River Conference game against Belle Plaine on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The Royals, who trailed by a small margin throughout much of the first half, used a big early in the second half to take the lead, and control of the game.

The Royals trailed by as many as six points in the first half, and trailed 27-23 at halftime. Belle Plaine pushed the lead back to six one last time on a 3-pointer with 14:44 left to play, but it was all Watertown-Mayer from there A 15-2 run, including 3-points from Chelsea Wandersee and Claire Killian, suddenly gave the Royals a 42-35 lead on layup from Liz Miller with 11:45 to play.

“We started to push the ball,” Watertown-Mayer coach John Rosholt said of his team’s run. “We had some good transition baskets. We got in a flow, and we knocked down a couple threes in transition. I think that’s when it started to flow for us and we got a little momentum going. It was a nice run there, and that allowed us to pull away.”

After Belle Plaine closed the gap to 42-38, another run for the Royals, this time an 8-0 run that included two straight baskets for Kirsten Klitzke, gave the Royals a 50-38 lead with 6:52 left. Belle Plaine used a 9-0 run to climb back within 50-47 with 3:48 left, but Kate Theisen answered with five straight points, and the Royals closed the game on an 11-3 run.

Theisen led the way with 21 points and Killian had 14. Klitzke also finished with nine for the Royals. Theisen had seven rebounds and Miller had six, and Theisen added three assists.

The Royals shot 67 percent from the field and 7-for-20 from 3-point range.

Royals 57, Tri City United 36

The Royals jumped out to a hot start on the road and never looked back in a win over Tri City United on Thursday, Dec. 13. The Royals took a 13-2 lead, and Tri City never got within five points the rest of the night. The Royals led 30-20 at halftime and continued to extend the lead throughout the second half. The final margin matched the team’s biggest lead of the night.

Theisen again led the Royals, this time with 23 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists. Hannah Johnson finished with 10 points and three steals and Wandersee had eight points. Killian finished with eight points, and although she didn’t score, Courtney Fisher contributed with six rebounds and three steals. As a team, the Royals had 13 steals.

“I thought defensively we played a much better game,” Rohsolt said.

Offensively, the Royals shot 35 percent from the field overall and 6-for-19 from 3-point range.

Royals 64, Mound-Westonka 40

The Royals closed out the week with a win over Mound-Westonka, when they once again got off to a fast start. The Royals scored the game’s first six points and led by as many as eight in the early going, before the Whitehawks closed the gap.

Mound-Westonka closed the deficit to 15-13, but that’s when the Royals began to take control. They used a 19-5 run to close the half, and go into the break with a 34-18 lead.  The Royals quickly pushed the lead to 20 with the first four points of the second half, and although Mound-Westonka clawed back to within 40-31 with 12:59 left, the Whitehawks never got any closer than that. The Royals held them to nine points the rest of the way as they closed with a 24-9 run.

“I thought keeping them off the glass was crucial in that game,” Rosholt said. “Keeping them off the dribble drive was very important, and we closed out on their shooters well.”

Theisen again led the Royals with 23 points and eight rebounds. Klitzke had 14 points and four steals, and Miller had six points and six rebounds. Fisher had six points and four rebounds.