By: Jared Hines (@Jared_Hines27)
At halftime of the Royals 62-30 win over Monticello, Haylee Fingalsen and the Royals were happy about the fact that they were winning, but not happy with the fact that they were up by only five points.
“Coach Amundson said we have to get over our frustrations,” Fingalsen said about Amundson’s halftime message. “He could tell we were frustrated with too many things that we can’t control. He said as long as we work hard, work as a team, and box out, we will win the game.”
The Royals players took Amundson’s words to heart, outscoring the Magic 36-9 in the second half en route to a 62-30 victory. Fingalsen led the Royals with 15 points, while 13 total players scored for Rogers in the win.
The Royals defense was the key to the game, with the Magic going on a scoring drought of over ten minutes due to the toughness the Royals instilled. The Magic had 15 offensive rebounds in the first half, but the Royals improved on boxing out their opponent after the halftime break. Claire Swan had nine rebounds for the Royals, including six offensive boards that allowed many second-chance points for her team.
“I think the biggest thing that has changed is our defensive intensity,” Fingalsen said about Amundson’s practices and the team’s current three-game win streak. “He’s constantly pushing us to be a better team defensively and put a lot of pressure on our opponents. He has a good balance of pushing us physically and mentally but still making practice fun.”
The Royals are now 6-5 since Amundson took over on Dec. 22 and 8-11 overall on the season. Rogers is 6-0 against Monticello since the 2014-15 season, including a 74-60 win back on Jan. 3. The Royals are 6-1 against the Mississippi 8 conference, currently in second place behind their next opponent, St. Michael-Albertville.
The Knights are 12-4 this season, with losses to Apple Valley, Hopkins, Elk River, and Wayzata. Hopkins, Elk River, and Apple Valley are currently ranked No. 1, 2, and 3 in the latest class 4A rankings. The Knights are currently ranked No. 9 in class 4A.
“We have learned to work together on both ends of the floor and our team chemistry couldn’t be any better,” Fingalsen said about the team’s recent success. “Our success these past games have been because of the confidence coach has given us.”
The Knights and Royals face off on Jan. 31 at Rogers High School. The game is set to tip-off at 7:15 p.m.