Royals gain momentum with two easy wins

Jacob Wandersee launches a 3-pointer during a game earlier this season. (Submitted photo)
Jacob Wandersee launches a 3-pointer during a game earlier this season. (Submitted photo)

The Watertown-Mayer boys’ basketball team picked up easy wins over Tri City United and Spectrum last week, moving to 6-5 on the year and climbing above .500 for the first time this season.

The win over Tri City United also marked the first conference win of the year for the Royals, who moved to 1-1 in the Minnesota River Conference. The Royals topped Tri City United 69-41 on Thursday, Jan. 3, and then responded with an 82-28 win over Spectrum.

Royals 69, TCU 41

A big second half from Jacob Wandersee helped the Royals rebound from what head coach Bob Hennen described as a “sloppy” first half, and the Royals pulled away for an easy win.

A late run in the first half helped push the Royals’ halftime lead to 28-21 in a first half that Hennen said didn’t have much flow. However, the Royals quickly pushed the lead to double digits in the second half, and never looked back.

Wandersee scored 17 of his game-high 25 points after halftime, 15 of them coming on 3-pointers. Hennen also said Mark Sandquist gave the team a spark with six early points in the second half, and Caleb Fails also had six-second-half points off the bench.

“Our passing was terrific,” Hennen said. “We found the open man and got great shots. The tempo was a lot faster, too, and I think that resulted from good defense and rebounding. It was a good conference win, and it’s always nice to win on the road.”

Overall, Mark and Luke Sandquist both finished with 10 points, while Fails had eight. Barna Berenyi had five points and six assists, while Luke Sandquist added 12 rebounds and six blocks.


Royals 82, Spectrum 28

The Royals used a 26-5 run late in the first half to build a huge halftime lead, and then played even better in the second half in a rout of Spectrum.

After taking a 46-17 lead into halftime, the Royals held Spectrum without a point through at least the first seven minutes of the second half. In all, Spectrum was held to just 11 points after halftime.

“The defense was solid, and we rebounded the ball well,” Hennen said.

The 82 points also mark a season high for the Royals. 11 different players scored in the second half alone for the Royals, and nine different players scored during the first half. Hennen said the run to close out the first half was a big turning point.

“Once we picked up the intensity and stopped fouling so much, we forced the tempo and got a lot of easy looks,” he said. “The passing was terrific at the end of the half.”

Luke Sandquist led the way with 15 points, while Berenyi had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Hunter Hulley had 10 points, Kurt Klitzke had nine points, Jacob Grotbo had seven points and five assists, Mark Sandquist had 10 rebounds and seven assists and Jesse Bushman had six rebounds.


Up Next

The Watertown-Mayer boys were also in action Tuesday, Jan. 8, when they traveled to take on LeSueur-Henderson. A game originally scheduled for Friday against Norwood Young America has been moved to March 1, meaning the Royals won’t be back in action until Tuesday, Jan. 15, when they host Sibley East at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Matt Bunke at [email protected]