ROYAL CITY — It was a weird little three-game swing going into the holiday break for the Royal boys basketball team.
The Knights (4-3, 1-1 SCAC East) looked a lot like a cork bobbing in the ocean the past week. On the good side, they broke the surface with Saturday’s 80-31 win over Goldendale in a SCAC crossover game to go into the break with more wins than losses.
On the bobbing down side, Royal scored single digits in three of the four quarters in a SCAC beat down by Zillah on Friday night. Royal trailed 60-34 after three quarters and lost 82-34 to the high-flying Leopards, who scored 45 points in the second half. Royal was back to the surface early last week with a 65-53 win over Warden.
So all things considered, it’s time to turn loose the dogs when they come out of the short-but-sweet break.
“We’ve had some inconsistencies and have some things to fix. But what I really like about the way we’re playing right now, is how our young guys are playing,” coach Ray Valle said. “They’re not just coming off the bench and holding the line. They’re coming in and playing like they could start for half the teams in our league.”
Valle got a banner night from freshman Luke Bergeson Saturday night against the Timberwolves (4-5, 1-2 SCAC West). The 5-foot-7 guard had 18 of his 20 points from beyond the arc for the Knights, who led 68-26 after three quarters when Caleb Christensen knocked down a 23-foot buzzer beater to end the quarter.
“I’m not shooting the ball very right now, but I’m working on it. The team has really bonded and playing well together,” said Gage Christensen, who finished with just four points, but did a nice job running the offense. “We came out of football and we weren’t super tight as a basketball team at the beginning of the season.
“But we’re coming together and playing better. I think we’re in good shape for a run in the second half.”
The Knights had four players in double digits. The freshman had the hot hand on a team that drained 18 from downtown. Bergeson had six treys en route to a game-high 20 points. Owen Ellis was money from the perimeter as well. The 6-2 senior hit four 3-pointers on his way to 16 points. Derek Bergeson and Caleb Christensen added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Knights have built their reputation on running the floor and playing floor-length, in-your-face defense and they got to the Timberwolves early with a 15-5 run to make it a 25-7 after the first eight minutes. It didn’t get any better for the Timberwolves, and for a team that was on the other end of the beat down the night before, Royal stomped on the throttle and ran into the break with a 49-point victory.
G 7 8 11 5 - 31
R 25 17 26 12 - 80
Goldendale: Lane Siebert 2, Nick Lee 3, Napoleon Owen 5, Cameron Mains 6, Curtis Kayser 8, Dylan Layfield 2, Hayden Lorton 4, Austin McKune 1. Totals: 12 6-11 31
Royal: Luke Bergeson 20, Cooper Christensen 2, Angel Farias 5, Luis Rodriguez 4, Sayer Jenks 6, Gage Christensen 4, Tyler Allred 2, Owen Ellis 16, Caleb Christensen 10, Derek Bergeson 11. Totals: 29 8-13 80