By PATRICK SLACK
Both teams came out firing in the first half of the Sub-Section 5A East semifinal between Royalton and Isle at Mora High School, March 10, before each defense settled down in the second half.
Third-seeded Royalton managed to outplay second-seeded Isle by just enough in each, earning a 58-51 victory and a spot in the sub-section finals.
Isle’s top shooter hit five three-point shots in the first half, only to be outdone by Royalton senior Steve Hoff’s six, giving the Royals a narrow 33-32 lead at the break.
Each team had difficulty scoring as play resumed in the second half, but Isle was able to take a 44-39 advantage with 8:45 to go.
At that point, Royalton’s defense tightened even further, limiting the Huskies to seven points the rest of the way to close the game on a 19-7 run and pick up the win.
The Royals committed only eight turnovers in the game and allowed just four offensive rebounds.
Hoff shouldered the bulk of the scoring load, finishing with 24 points.
Senior Tyler Makela put in 16 points, followed by junior Luke Wentland with eight, senior Dan Anshus with six and junior Matt Silbernick with five.
Junior Justin Opatz distributed four assists and Hoff, Makela, Wentland and Silbernick each dished out three.
Royalton will now take on the East’s top seed, Barnum, in the sub-section championship game Tuesday at Mora.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Royalton 58, Isle 51
Royalton 33 25 – 58
Isle 32 19 – 51
Royalton—Steve Hoff, 23 (4 rebounds, 3 assists); Tyler Makela, 16 (3 rebounds, 3 assists); Luke Wentland, 8 (4 rebounds, 3 assists); Dan Anshus, 6; Matt Silbernick, 5 (3 rebounds, 3 assists); Justin Opatz, (4 assists).