After a pair of Central Minnesota Conference losses, the Royalton boys basketball team was looking to right itself on its home court, Tuesday.
The Staples Motley Cardinals were in town for a non-conference, non-section battle, and the Royals used a strong second half to dispatch them, 48-41.
“It (Staples Motley) is a AA school, and we would really like to get wins to move up the standings a little, so I was really happy the kids found a way to play the second half,” said Royalton head coach Randy Thielges.
The Royals trailed at the half, but made a run in the second half to gain the lead, hitting free throws at the end to maintain and extend their lead.
“We knew who their shooters were, but we just didn’t do a great job of that in the first half, but I thought we clamped down on them in the second half and played much better defense,” Thielges said.
Junior Brady Brezinka led Royalton with 13 points, including 8-of-10 at the free throw line. Senior Ethan Walcheski added 10 points, including nine of which that came from three, three-pointers.
Royalton’s ability to break the press led to committing few turnovers and occasionally an easy basket.
“It has really been a trait of ours all year long, that we have guys who can take care of the ball,” Thielges said. “They are able to get the ball up the court and get us in our offense, and you can’t really play basketball if you don’t have that.”
Royalton’s previous two games were losses to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, 53-50, and Eden Valley-Watkins, 55-23, Jan. 30 and 31 respectively.
Brezinka scored a team-high 18 points in the loss to HLWW, while Grayson Suska’s seven points paced the Royals in the loss to EVW.
Royalton (4-14) will next be at Paynesville, Monday.
Rest of area basketball teams endure mixed results
The Swanville Bulldogs were able capture a 69-62 win over rival Upsala, Jan. 30, and earn their sixth win of the season.
Sophomore Nicholas Mettler exploded for 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting, and also added a team-best 13 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Senior Jackson Thieschafer added 11 points.
However, following that big victory, the Bulldogs were bested by both Onamia, 72-61, Jan. 31, and Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, 84-45, Tuesday.
Upsala too followed up the loss with more losses, falling 56-49 to Hinckley Finlayson, Jan. 31, and 74-65 to East Central, Saturday, Feb. 1.
However, one team, the Holdingford Huskers did find some success, winning of 2-of-3 games.
First, the Huskers beat Paynesville, 76-46, Jan. 31. Next, they topped Kimball, 58-43, Monday, but Tuesday, they fell, 78-47, to Milaca.
Swanville (6-12) is set to host Staples Motley, Monday, while Upsala (6-13) will travel to Verndale, Tuesday. Holdingford (8-9) hosts Pequot Lakes, Monday.