by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Rogers Royals have been sinking their free shots lately, and that trait was a big factor in surviving their playoff opener 45-39 over Dassel-Cokato on Tuesday evening at home.
“It was not a pretty game offensively by either team,” said coach Jeremy Digiovanni. “Survive would be the right word.”
Except for Rogers’ performance at the line, that is, as the Royals cashed 23 of 31 attempts while D-C was 3-for-10, for a 20-point edge.
Junior guard Emily Reichert led Rogers with 16 points and seven rebounds. She was 4-for-6 on free shots. Shelby Beach was 7-for-7 for all of her points, and Jordyn Motter 8-for-12 in scoring 14 points.
The Royals made 31 of 41 in a 68-65 win over Cambridge-Isanti and 15 of 20 in a 47-40 loss to Princeton in the last week of the regular season, a total of 69-for-92 in that three-game stretch.
Rogers, the No. 2 seed in a Section 5AAA tournament that has no standout teams, takes a 13-14 record into the semifinals against No. 6 Princeton (11-15). That game is slated for 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Buffalo. The other semifinal will have No. 1 Big Lake (19-8) taking on Monticello (13-14) at 6 p.m.
Nicole Nelson and Kelly Hartkopf scored 10 each for the Chargers (9-16).
Rogers had a nine-point lead early in the second half. The Chargers spurted ahead 36-35 but Rogers got back in front with free throw shooting.
The Royals have split with Princeton in conference play, but Princeton is closer to full-strength now after a season plagued by injuries.
“At least we’ve beaten Princeton once, so the girls know they can do it,” said Digiovanni.