Royal builds big lead, beats Warden

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Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Warden junior Ayzaiah Pruneda is fouled as he drives the baseline during Tuesday night's SCAC East game with Royal. The Knights won 65-53.

WARDEN — The thing about Royal vs. Warden, it doesn't matter if it's your place or theirs or down at the school yard on the steel-net hoops, both teams tend to get after it.

“It's always good beating Warden,” said Royal senior Sawyer Jenks after Tuesday night's 65-53 win in Warden.

The Knights (3-1, 1-1 SCAC East) led by many as 22, but the Cougars got it down to eight when Ayzaiah Pruneda got the steal out on the wing and went coast-to-coast for the layup with 4:25 remaining. But Royal (3-1, 1-1 SCAC East) finished with a 11-4 run with a little defense in the end to win its first SCAC East game of the season.

“I thought our press got to them a little bit tonight. We got some steals off of it and it threw them out of their rhythm,” said Royal senior Owen Ellis, who finished with 23 points, including nine from beyond the arc. Jenks finished up with 17 points and eight rebounds for the Knights, who led by 12 at the intermission.

“I think they played harder than we did. They got after the loose balls,” said Jack Hardman, who was coming off a double-double this weekend against both River View (23 points, 17 rebounds) and College Place (16 points, 15 rebounds). “We weren't very prepared for their press. We tried to play more physical in the paint.”

Zach Richins led the Cougars with 13 points and seven rebounds. Hardman added 12 points and eight rebounds.

Royal hosts Zillah on Friday and Goldendale on Saturday heading into the holiday break. Warden hosts Chelan and plays at Lake Roosevelt on Saturday.

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