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Royal ends season at 1A state tournament

Feb. 28—YAKIMA — A bad day rebounding and shots that wouldn't quite fall ended the Royal High School boys basketball season with a 55-40 loss to Riverside (Chattaroy) at the state 1A basketball tournament Wednesday in Yakima.

Royal Coach Greg Jenks said the rebounding made the difference.

"We knew they were a good rebounding team, and found out they were a really good rebounding team," he said.

The Knights played intense defense throughout, holding Riverside scoreless in the second quarter. The Knights forced Riverside into a 30-second violation early in the first quarter but struggled with turnovers in the early going. Riverside took a 12-8 lead with about 2:19 left in the first quarter, getting the rebound and converting the second chance. Jenks said that was the story of the game.

"Our initial defense was good. But then they'd get a rebound, and now they're close to the hoop, we're out of position — and all that good defense kind of goes for naught when you can't clean up the rebound," he said.

Royal shut Riverside down completely in the second quarter, scored six straight points to cut the lead to 18-16, then took the lead 19-18 with 1:46 left in the half. Royal took the one-point lead into halftime.

But the Knights never quite found the rhythm on the offensive end.

"That was the other part that hurt us," Jenks said. "I felt the ball (movement) was a little stagnant. We didn't get the ball movement that we normally get."

Riverside outscored Royal 25-13 in the third quarter, taking the lead 24-22 about two minutes into the second half, and pushed the lead to nine with a dunk off a fastbreak. They led by 11, 43-32 at the end of the third quarter, and hit a pair of three-pointers to go up 56-37 midway through the fourth quarter.

"(Shots) weren't dropping for us," Jenks said.

With the lead the Rams slowed down the offense, hit some free throws and pushed the lead to 52-39 on a three-point play. Riverside took the win, 55-40.

It was Royal's first appearance in the round of 12 since 2019, and the seventh time the Knights have made the tournament. Royal finished the season with a 20-7 record.

"We're really proud of what the boys accomplished. Hopefully in the next few days, they'll be able to look back and realize they had a good season," Jenks said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

Box score

Royal: 10 9 13 8 40

Riverside: 18 0 25 12 55