The Royals were on the road to play North Tama, state football champions last month, so they knew it could be a physical game. As expected, the game's intensity was as hot as a burning barn, with two of the Royals best players getting into foul trouble, but the Royal boys came out on top in the end, 49-48. The lead changed hands 6 times in the fourth quarter and was tied once. I have to save play-by-play and in-depth coverage for the Nevada Journal article, but essentially, it was a Brandon Eley lay-in with 7 seconds left that gave the Royals the 1-point victory. North Tama had 2 chances at the buzzer, but couldn't make them fall, and the large crowd that made the long road trip to Traer went bananas!
Several players really stepped up for the Royals. I thought Ethan Jamison's play inside was huge, especially with Neuendorf in foul trouble and with the size and athleticism of North Tama. Jamison took several charges and had 15 rebounds (unofficially). Also, some less experienced players came off the bench and gave really valuable minutes--Garrett Eley and Nathan Thompson, specifically--who gave the Royals some real timely defense and rebounds. Their physical play off the bench may have been the difference in this game.
In the girls game, the Colo-Nesco girls played a great first half, leading 23-19 at the break against a good North Tama squad, but couldn't stop the inside play of the Redhawks in the second half, losing 44-32.