Playing back-to-back games last Friday and Saturday, Jan. 3-4, the Watertown-Mayer girls’ basketball team came away with one win and one loss.
On Jan. 3, the Royals were at New London-Spicer, when they were defeated, 53-38. The Royals turned things around the next day, though, knocking off Rockford, 74-52, at home, using a 50-point first half to claim control.
The Royals, after winning the Cloquet tournament the week before over the holiday break, are now 6-3 overall on the season and 3-0 in the Minnesota River Conference. They will return to action Thursday, Jan. 9, at Tri City United, and they’ll also play at home on Tuesday, Jan. 14, when they play host to Sibley East.
New London-Spicer 53, Royals 38
NLS took an early 11-2 lead and never trailed in the game, though the Royals closed the gap to a single point on numerous occasions.
After NLS built the early advantage, the Royals quickly erased most of it with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 11-10. However, NLS, in what turned out to be a game of mini runs, surged ahead once again, this time using a 10-0 to build a 21-10 lead.
once again, though, the Royals clawed their way back into the game before halftime, closing to within 26-19 at the half, and to within 26-25 less than 2 minutes into the second half when Claire Killian drained a 3-pointer.
However, NLS was able to maintain a four-to-eight point lead for much of the remainder of the second half, and a 13-0 run over a 4-minute stretch in the final minutes sealed the win for NLS.
Watertown-Mayer was led by 15 points from Chelsea Wandersee, and they also got nine points, seven rebounds and five steals from Kirstin Klitzke. Killian added seven points, eight rebounds and five steals.
Royals 74, Rockford 52
Watertown-Mayer dialed up the offense early, scoring the game’s first eight points and then gradually building a 23-point lead by halftime. The Royals led 50-27 at the break, when they were led by Klitzke, who scored 17 of her 19 points before the break. Killian also had 14 of her team-high 21 points in the first half.
The Royals were equally impressive early in the second half, as they continued to build their lead. The Royals took their biggest lead, a 33-point advantage at 68-35, when Liz Miller scored inside with 9:42 left to play.
Miller grabbed a team-high nine rebounds to go with seven points, while Wandersee and Kilian each dished out a team-high five assists. Killian had six steals to lead the Royals.
Royals 58, Cloquet 56
Watertown-Mayer edged Cloquet in its own tournament on Dec. 28 to emerge with the tournament championship.
After taking a 22-21 lead into halftime on Lexy Heldt’s putback at the buzzer, Cloquet slowly built an 11-point advantage in the second half, and led, 38-27, with 11:27 to go. However, Wandersee hit a three for the Royals a few seconds later, keying a 14-0 run that gave the Royals the lead for good.
Killian followed Wandersee’s three with a basket, and Anna Barfknecht did the same. A putback from Killian with 9:38 to play cut the lead to 2, and a pair of free throws from Killian with 9:25 to go tied the game. In took just 2:02 for the Royals to erase the 11-point deficit.
Another free throw from Killian with 9:01 left gave the Royals a 39-38 lead, and they never trailed again the rest of the way. They built a lead as big as six points, and were ahead by five when Cloquet drained a three at the buzzer.
Killian scored 23 points to lead the Royals and Klitzke added 19. Miller had a team-high 12 rebounds and Killian had five. Klitzke added six steals and Killian had five.
Royals 54, Bemidji 48
Wandersee opened the first round of the Cloquet tournament with a three and the Royals, despite a couple of ties, never trailed as they beat Bemidji to move on to the finals.
Klitzke led the team with 20 points, while Wandersee added 14. Miller had eight points and nine rebounds.
Wandersee added a team-high six steals, while Killian had seven rebounds and three assists. Klitzke finished with six rebounds and four steals.