Royals lose star player to injury in loss to LHS

The Watertown-Mayer girls’ basketball team lost a pair of Minnesota River Conference games last week, falling to Mayer Lutheran, 71-60, on the road on Tuesday, Jan. 15, and to Jordan, 72-61, at home on Friday, Jan. 18.

With the two losses, the Royals fell to 7-8 overall and 4-4 in the MRC. The Royals sit in fourth place in the league, while Jordan continues to lead the way at 8-0.

However, it may not have been the two losses that hurt the most last week for the Royals. Early in the game against Mayer Lutheran, the team’s leading scorer and one of its senior captains, Kate Theisen, was lost to a ruptured ACL.

Even so, Watertown-Mayer had a  chance to knock off Jordan at home on Friday nigh. The Royals rallied from an early 10-2 deficit to take several 5-point leads later in the half. The two teams went into the locker room at halftime deadlocked at 31.

Jordan began to pull away right out of the gates in the second half, however, using a 19-3 run over the first 5:46 to take a 50-34 lead. The Royals responded with a 12-3 run of their own to climb back to within 53-46, but that was as close as they got the rest of the way.

Jordan quickly pushed the lead back out to 61-46 with an 8-0 run, simply building too big of a lead for the Royals to make up with just 6:39 left.

The Royals were led by 20 points from Claire Killian, who also added three rebounds and two steals. Kirsten Klitzke added 16 points, three rebounds and two steals. Chelsea Wandersee added eight points and three assists, and Christine Kreatz had five points and five rebounds. Hannah Johnson also finished with five points.

Earlier in the week on the road against Mayer Lutheran, the Royals jumped out to the early lead, building several 5-point leads at 9-4 and 13-8. However, a 10-0 run for Mayer Lutheran gave them an 18-13, and put them in front to stay. The Crusaders built their lead to as many as 12 points in the first half at 27-15 with 4:10 to go, and eventually took a 37-28 lead into halftime.

Watertown-Mayer’s Hannah Johnson opened with a three to start the second half, and the Royals hot long-range shooting later in the half nearly helped them mount a comeback. They cut the Crusaders’ lead to 50-46 when Klitzke and Wandersee hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the half, and later cut it to 52-49 on another three from Wandersee.

Another 3-pointer from Johnson with 6:39 to play got the Royals within 54-52, and a 3-pointer from Wandersee with 6:12 left actually gave the Royals a 55-54 lead. However, Mayer Lutheran closed the game with a 19-6 run to put the game away.

Hannah Johnson led the way with 21 points on 5-for-12 shooting from 3-point range. Wandersee added 14 points on four 3-pointers, and Killian had 12 points on 2-for-3 shooting from behind the arc. Liz Miller had a team-high eight rebounds, while Wandersee and Killian added four apiece. Johnson had three assists.

The Royals will return to action on Thursday, Jan. 24, at Belle Plaine at 7:30 p.m. They’ll also play Saturday at Minnehaha Academy at 3 p.m., and on Tuesday, Jan. 29, they’ll host Tri City United at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Matt Bunke at [email protected]