The Watertown-Mayer girls’ basketball team opened the season with two road losses last week.
The Royals opened the season on Tuesday, Dec. 3, with a 55-32 loss at Dassel-Cokato. The Royals also lost, 62-54, at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted on Saturday, Dec. 6.
DC 55, Royals 32
Dassel-Cokato held Watertown-Mayer to a single basket in the first 8-plus minutes of the first half, quickly building a double-digit lead and never looking back in an eventual 55-32 win.
The Chargers opened up a 6-0 lead before the Royals’ Ashley Wiswell hit a short shot from the baseline to finally get the Royals on the board with 15:42 left in the first half. However, the Royals didn’t score again until Kirstin Klitzke hit a short jumper from the elbow with 9:12 left to play in the half. Overall, Dassel-Cokato ended up holding the Royals to 11 first-half points as the Chargers took a 25-11 lead.
“We obviously struggled offensively against DC,” Watertown-Mayer coach John Rosholt said. “They full-court pressed the entire game, which I don’t think hurt us. .. I don’t think we turned the ball over that many times against them, but it did get our offense in a hurry up mode rather than being relaxed.”
The Royals were more efficient offensively in the second half, but were unable to make a dent in the Chargers’ lead as they continued to pull away.
Claire Killian led the Royals with 10 points, and Klitzke added eight. Wiswell finished with six and varsity newcomer Victoria Lynch had five in her first game, to go with four rebounds.
Killian had a team-high six rebounds and Klitzke had five. Lexy Heldt also added four rebounds. Killian had a team-high three steals.
Watertown-Mayer shot just 25.5 percent in the contest, including a 12.5 percent clip from 3-point range. The Royals were also just 4-for-10 from the foul line.
“We took some quick shots that we didn’t have to take,” Rosholt said. “We took some good shots too, but we just struggled on the offense. We struggled to make baskets and we kind of rushed things.”
HLWW 62, Royals 54
After taking a 23-19 lead into halftime, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted quickly pushed their advantage to 32-21, their biggest of the game, with 14:30 left to play. However, the Royals battled back throughout the remainder of the second half, but didn’t have quite enough to get all the way over the top in a 62-54 loss to the Lakers.
“We made it a good game, but we gave up 62 points,” Rosholt said. “We’re going to have to defend better.”
After the Lakers took that 11-point lead, the Royals quickly closed the gap with a 15-6 run to close within 38-36 on a 3-pointer from Anna Barfknecht. Chelsea Wandersee also drained a three as part of the run.
With 7:18 left to play, a basket inside from Lynch tied the game at 41-41. HLWW quickly used a 5-0 run to re-establish control, but the Royals still wouldn’t go away. Trailing 49-43, Killian hit a free throw with 4:58 left to play and then sank a three with 3:50 left, cutting the deficit to 49-47. However, that’s as close as the Royals got, as HLWW took advantage of nine made free throws the rest of the way to seal the win.
“Overall, I think we played better defensively, and I think that helped us out on the offensive end,” Rosholt said. “Offensively, we ran some offense, whereas, in the DC game, I don’t think we ran any offense at all. We did a nice job in the half court.”
Klitzke led the Royals with 16 points, including going 8-for-9 from the foul line. She also added five rebounds and three assists.
Killian added 11 points and Wandersee had eight. Liz Miller had six points and 11 rebounds.
“We improved from the DC game in just about every way,” Rosholt said. “We got that first game out of the way, and we learned from it, and we’ll learn some things from the Howard Lake game also.”
The Royals were at LeSueur-Henderson on Tuesday, and will return to the court Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m., when they host Belle Plaine. The Royals will also play at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Mound-Westonka, as part of a double-header with the boys’ team. On Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Royals will host Norwood Young America at 7:30 p.m.