The Watertown-Mayer boys’ basketball team went 2-1 last week, defeating Sibley East and Providence Academy and falling to Jordan.
Royals 75, Sibley East 71
A close game all the way through, Watertown-Mayer trailed by as many five points in the early going and led by as many eight in the second half before ultimately holding off a late rally from the Wolverines.
After a slow start for the Royals led to an early Sibley East lead, a full-court press helped turn things around for the Royals.
“We started to press and got some easy buckets,” Watertown-Mayer coach Bob Hennen said.
The press helped the Royals climb in front, taking a six-point lead at one point. However, Sibley East closed the gap a bit before halftime, when the Royals led by just one, 36-35.
“Unfortunately, we did not close the half well,” Hennen said. “Our offense was very good for the most part, but our defense was not as crisp as normal. We just seemed to be a step slow, had a lot of fouls, and Sibley made us pay by hitting their shots.”
The Royals played from in front for most of the second half, consistently pushing their lead to eight points before Sibley East always managed to claw their way back.
“We could never put them away,” Hennen said. “They would make a big shot or we would have a turnover that would not allow us to get into a double digit lead. Again, our offense was very good, but defensively, we just could not consistently get enough stops.”
The Royals led 68-63 late before Sibley East hit a three to claw within two. Trae Berhow scored for the Royals to push the lead back to four, but after a defensive stop, the Royals missed an easy basket on their next possession, and Sibley East responded with a pair of free throws to cut the lead back to two.
However, the Royals got a stop on the Wolverines’ next possession, pushed the ball up the floor, and Kurt Klitzke found Luke Sandquist for a layup to take a 72-68 lead. The Royals finally came up with some big stops down the stretch to put the game away.
Sandquist led the way for the Royals with 16 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks, falling just short of a triple-double, while Berhow had 16 points, six rebounds and four steals. Hunter Hulley added 15 points and eight rebounds and Klitzke had six points and six rebounds.
“It was a good win,” Hennen said. “Sibley East is a good team and they shot well. They have very good guards. It was nice to get a conference win.”
Jordan 68, Royals 64
Despite an early three-point barrage from Jordan, the Royals managed to hang with Jordan all night, using strong early play from Luke Sandquist to keep the Royals in it early. Sandquist scored the first six points for the Royals, and Brett Johnson added a couple 3-pointers of his own, helping them stay in the game while Jordan kept draining threes.
Sandquist ended up leading the Royals with 16 points, while Alger had 15 and Klitzke had eight. Hulley finished with seven and Johnson had six.
Royals 51, Providence Academy 41
After taking a two-point lead into the half, Watertown-Mayer quickly pushed the lead to six early in the second half and never trailed the rest of the way in a win over Providence Academy.
PA did cut the lead to one point midway though the second half, but the Royals regrouped quickly and extended the lead once again.
“I thought we got the ball inside more in the second half,” Hennen said. “Luke scored 10 in the half, but we also got baskets by going inside-out.”
In the first half, the Royals took an early 13-3 lead, but saw Providence battle right back. A 13-3 run for Providence Academy tied the game at 16 before the Royals took the 20-18 halftime lead.
“We started out the game with such good ball movement, and that’s why we got ahead,” Hennen said. “For whatever reason, we got away from that and allowed Providence to get back in it.”
Klitzke and Sandquist each finished with 10 points, while Sandquist once again flirted with a triple-double, adding 15 rebounds and seven blocks. Klitzke added seven rebounds.
Alger added nine points and four assists for the Royals, Johnson had eight points and Berhow had six points and four rebounds.
The Royals also played Tuesday, Jan. 21, after this edition went to press, at Belle Plaine. Watertown-Mayer will be back in action Friday, Jan. 24, at Norwood Young America, and will play host to Minneapolis Edison on Tuesday, Jan. 28.