The Watertown-Mayer boys’ basketball team recently wrapped up a season in which it finished 14-13 overall and 8-6 in the conference. The Royals bowed out of the playoffs in the first round, but head coach Bob Hennen said it didn’t diminish a successful year for the Royals.
“It was tough to lose in the first round, but the kids gave everything they had,” Hennen said. “This was a good group of kids who handled the ups and downs and stayed focused on being a great team.”
The Royals had two players — senior Jacob Wandersee and junior Luke Sandquist — named to the Minnesota River Conference all-conference first team. Mark Sandquist received honorable mention recognition.
Luke Sandquist was the Royals’ leading scorer at just over 14 points per game. He was key to the team’s defense with three blocks per game, and he also collected more than 10 rebounds per game. Perhaps most impressively, he shot better than 60 percent from the field.
“He really improved as a post player,” Hennen said. “He anchored the defense, and he improved so much on offense that he was seeing double teams at the end of the year.”
Wandersee once again was a sharpshooter for the Royals, hitting more than 40 percent of his 3-point attempts. He also shot slightly above 80 percent from the free throw line and was second on the team with over 13 points per game.
“He’s a terrific 3-point shooter who expanded his game as a senior,” Hennen said. “He has improved his range each year and has been an integral part of the success of the last two years.”
Mark Sandquist was a versatile player for the Royals, contributing solid defense, help in the scoring column and some much needed rebounding.
“Mark is a good defensive player,” Hennen said. “He always worked hard. He’s an underrated passer and rebounder as well. He really improved his game into his senior year.”
A number of other Royals contributed key minutes for the Royals including forwards Hunter Hulley, Caleb Fails, Barna Berenyi and Dan Dressel, and guards Jacob Grotbo, Brandon Kuntz and Kurt Klitzke. Other Royals to see action included Caleb Farber, Jesse Bushman, Wyatt Pouliot, Spencer Herrmann, Matt Fritzke, Luke Vanderlinde and Ian Klas.
The team held its annual season-end banquet last week, when a number of players were given team awards. Luke Sandquist and Jacob Wandersee were named co-MVPs and Mr. Offense. Mark Sandquist was named Mr. Defense, while Wandersee and Fails won the Royal Award. Luke Vanderlinde won the Aaron Kelzer Award, Ian Klas won Mr. Hustle and most improved was Jacob Grotbo. Luke Sandquist, Bushman, Hulley and Klitzke were named captains for next season.
Once again, the Royals will be hit hard by graduation with 11 seniors on this year’s roster. Seniors graduating from this years team are Wandersee, Mark Sandquist, Fails, Berenyi, Grotbo, Kuntz, Dressel, Vanderlinde, Klas, Farber and Fritzke.
“The seniors were some of the best we have ever had in terms of student athletes,” Hennen said. “Their play and actions represented Watertown-Mayer well on and off the court.”
Contact Matt Bunke at firstname.lastname@example.org