Sibley East edges Watertown-Mayer down the stretch

Luke Sandquist Hunter Hulley Jacob Grotbo Mark Sandquist
Luke Sandquist

The Watertown-Mayer boys’ basketball team saw a chance for a big win in the Minnesota River Conference slip through its fingers last Tuesday, Jan. 15, when the Royals fell to Sibley East, 67-60.

The Royals, whose three-game winning streak came to an end, led much of the game, including a 33-26 halftime advantage and a 57-51 lead without about 4 minutes left. However, some big shots for Sibley East and a lack of big plays for the Royals helped the Wolverines rally late for the win.

“It was a tough loss,” Watertown-Mayer coach Bob Hennen said. “We led most of the game and really missed a chance for a good win. We just did not take care of the ball and rebound with any consistency. Sibley is a good team, and to beat them would have been a big boost for us.”

At 7-4 overall and 4-2 in the MRC, Sibley East sits in third place in the league, while the Royals fell to fifth place with a 2-2 mark in the MRC and a 7-6 record overall.

The Royals played from in front early, when they got a big boost from Jacob Grotbo, who nailed two consecutive threes and added a layup to give Watertown-Mayer a 20-16 advantage. Sibley East quickly closed to within 20-19, but the Royals put a little more separation between the teams before halftime.

The Royals maintained their lead through most of the second half as well, despite what Hennen considered a sloppy half. The Royals weren’t able to add to the lead, and in the end, it ended up costing them.

“We just did not make the plays needed down the stretch,” said Hennen, whose team led for the final time at 60-59 without about 2 minutes left, but did not score again.

Luke Sandquist led the way for the Royals with 21 points and Jacob Wandersee added 12.

The Royals were back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 22, when they traveled to take on Mayer Lutheran. They will host Jordan at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, and will hit the road again to take on Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Matt Bunke at [email protected]