Royals hope for Friday night finals

Freshman Claire Killian breaks away from a Brooklyn Center opponent on March 6. (Staff photo by Todd Moen)

Freshman Claire Killian breaks away from a Brooklyn Center opponent on March 6. (Staff photo by Todd Moen)

With two wins in the Section 5AA tournament so far, the No. 2 (South) Watertown-Mayer girls’ basketball team is hoping to land in the section finals on Friday night.

To get there, the Royals must have defeated No. 1 (South) Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted in the semifinals Tuesday night, March 11.

Before their semifinal game, the Royals have already defeated No. 7 Brooklyn Center and No. 3 Providence Academy in games last week.

Watertown-Mayer led from start to finish in their March 6 blowout of Brooklyn Center, essentially winning the game in the first six minutes, when the Royals had already scored more points than the Centaurs would all game. Holding the Centaurs to 12 points in the first half and just four in the second, the Royals easily cruised to a huge 65-16 victory at home Thursday night.

Freshman Anna Barfknecht passes to a teammate. (Staff photo by Todd Moen)

Freshman Anna Barfknecht passes to a teammate. (Staff photo by Todd Moen)

The Royals posted 40 first half points and eased back to 25 in the second, led by freshmen Claire Killian and Kirstin Klitzke, who netted 20 and 19 points, respectively. Sophomore Katelyn Yliniemi scored seven points for the offense, including a perfect 3-3 from two-point range.

The team’s leading scorers were supported by a staff of strong assisting players, including Klitzke (4), sophomore Sarah Zuelzke (4), freshman Anna Barfknecht (3), and Killian (3).

As a team, Watertown-Mayer was 26 of 60 from the floor (43 percent).

On defense, the Royals pulled down 35 rebounds, led by senior Chelsea Wandersee (8), Yliniemi (5), and junior Ashley Wiswell (5). Of the team’s 14 steals, Killian (6) and Wandersee (4) collected 10.

Traveling to St. Michael-Albertville for a Saturday morning game against No. 3 Providence Academy, the Royals faced a tougher challenge than the Centaurs, but still came away with a 53-40 victory.

Trailing early in the first half, the Royals rallied to take a narrow 16-15 halftime lead, before expanding that lead in the second half by outscoring the Lions 37-25.

Shooting cooled off in this game, compared to the Royals’ match up with the Centaurs, as Watertown-Mayer made just 27.5 percent of its shots (14-51). Free throw shooting improved, however, up to 18-26.

Wandersee led the Royals’ charge with 16 points, followed by Killian (13) and Barfknecht (8).

Of the team’s 19 rebounds, Killian (7) and senior Liz Miller (6) combined for 13 of them. Killian also grabbed six of the Royals’ seven steals.

If the Royals won Tuesday night, they will play Friday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Section 5AA finals at St. Cloud State University.

 

Contact Melissa Marohl at melissa.marohl@ecm-inc.com

 
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