The Watertown-Mayer girls’ basketball team picked up a big Minnesota River Conference win on Tuesday, Dec. 17, defeating Norwood Young America at home, 64-52. However, the Royals also lost a non-conference game two days later when they fell to Delano, 52-47, on the road.
The win over Norwood Young America was a big one for the Royals because it pushed their conference record to 3-0 on the year. The Royals are tied atop the league standings with Jordan, while Norwood Young America fell to 2-1 in the league and 4-2 overall.
With the loss to Delano a few days later, the Royals fell to 4-3 on the season.
Royals 64, NYA 52
Watertown-Mayer created early separation and pulled out to a 30-17 first-half win in an eventual 64-52 win over Norwood Young America.
The Royals used stellar defense and some strong 3-point shooting to build the early lead. Defensively, the Royals held NYA star guard Kaylie Brazil to just five points in the first – though she eventually finished with a game-high 21. Offensively, the Royals drained six threes in the first half and 10 in the game.
Four of those threes came courtesy of senior guard Chelsea Wandersee, who hit threes on back-to-back possessions midway through the first half that had the Raiders reeling. Anna Barfknecht also drained a pair of first-half threes for the Royals on her way to five of them for the night. Her career-high 15 points led the Royals in the scoring column.
Barfknecht had three of her threes in the second half, and Killian added another as the Royals kept up the pressure all night long. Wandersee finished with 14 points, and Killian and Kirstin Klitzke both added 11. Lexy Heldt chipped in with seven points.
Delano 52, Royals 47
Watertown-Mayer rallied from an early 11-point deficit to tie the game early in the second half, but Delano rebuilt its lead and held on at the end for a non-conference win in Delano.
Delano surged ahead early, building an 18-7 lead, and matching that 11-point advantage numerous times throughout the remainder of the first half. Delano led 29-20 at halftime.
Watertown-Mayer raced out of the gates in the second half, though, using a 9-0 run to tie the game at 29. The half started with a layup from Klitzke, and Killian followed with a 3-pointer. Klitzke added a free throw, and after Wandersee drained another three, the Royals and Tigers were suddenly tied just 1:46 into the second half.
Delano scored the next two buckets to regain a four-point lead, but another three from Wandersee and a free throw from Klitzke tied the score once again at 33-33. However, that’s the last time the game was tied as Delano pulled away.
Delano built the lead back up to as many as 11 points again, taking a 48-37 lead with 6:18 to play. A three from Wandersee cut the lead back down to 49-44 with 1:46 to play, and a free throw from Killian with 18 seconds left made it a 4-point game, but Delano was able to hold off the Royals’ late charge.
Killian scored a team-high 18 points for the Royals, and Klitzke finished with 15. Wandersee had 11 points.
Liz Miller grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, while Killian had five and Heldt had four. Wandersee had four steals.
Watertown-Mayer shot 18-for-50 from the field and 5-for-20 from 3-point range.
The Royals will return to action and Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27-28, for the Wood City Tournament. They’ll take on Bemidji on Friday at 1 p.m. in the opener.