Royals knock off TCU

Watertown-Mayer guard Ryne Alger brings the ball up the floor during a game earlier this season. (Staff photo by Matt Bunke)
Watertown-Mayer guard Ryne Alger brings the ball up the floor during a game earlier this season. (Staff photo by Matt Bunke)

The Watertown-Mayer boys’ basketball team defeated Tri City United on the road on Tuesday, Dec. 17, a win that pushed the Royals’ winning streak to three games and their overall record to 5-4.

The Royals rallied from seven points down in the final six minutes to pull off the 50-44 victory, moving to 2-2 in the Minnesota River Conference. TCU fell to 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the MRC.

“It was a big win on the road,” Watertown-Mayer coach Bob Hennen said. “We didn’t play well, but our defense kept us in it. The effort was there, but we just have to execute a bit better.”

Trailing 35-33 midway through the second half, TCU used a quick five-point burst to take a 40-33 lead with about six minutes left. However, the Royals closed the game on a 17-4 run to pull out the win. Big baskets from Nick Parker, Ryne Alger, Trae Berhow and Luke Sandquist helped close things out for the Royals.

“We closed the game with good free throw shooting and handled their pressure really well,” Hennen said. “We got a few layups to close it out.”

Hennen said the Royals struggled offensively in the first half, with a number of misses layups, some sloppy passing and too many quick shots. However, the Royals defense made up for it, and Watertown-Mayer trailed by a single point, 17-16, at halftime.

“On one hand I felt fortunate we were in the game, but on the other hand I was thinking we should be ahead by double figures with holding them to 17,” Hennen said.

Berhow led the Royals with 12 points, and he also added six rebounds. Alger had 11 points, six assists and five rebounds, and Sandquist finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. Kurt Klitzke added six rebounds and four assists, Brett Johnson had five rebounds and Hunter Hulley chipped in with six points and two blocks.

The Royals will return to action on Friday, Dec. 27, when they participate in the Annandale Tournament. On Friday, the Royals will open against Chatfield at 3:30 p.m. If they win, they will play Saturday, Dec. 28, at 8 p.m., but if they lose, they’ll play Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Saturday’s game will be against the winner or loser of the first-round game between Annandale or Zumbrota-Mazeppa.