Riese sisters help lead Royals back to state

COLO – Colo-NESCO coach Wayne Cafferty calls them the “Twin Towers.”

And when the Royals’ duo steps on the court, opponents often find themselves looking up.

Though not actually twins, sisters Caitlyn Riese (6-foot-1) and Samantha Riese (6-2) form an imposing 1-2 combo for the Rebels’ frontcourt.

“They’re bigger than most of the teams that we play,” sophomore guard Shayla Dean said. “We like to get it inside and show that we can score from there.”

Not a problem for the Riese tandem – where the proof is in the postseason.

Caitlyn, a junior, who is second on the team with 11.4 points per outing and hauls in a team-best 6.9 rebounds, scored 19 in the Royals’ 62-49 regional semifinal win over BGM. Samantha – a sophomore – took over in the regional final with 17 points and 10 rebounds against ninth-ranked Meskwaki.

It was the second game back for the sophomore, who has battled through a couple knee injuries as well as hypothyroid this season, but returns in time for the Royals’ hopes of an extended run at the state tournament.

“It’s awesome to play with (Caitlyn) knowing that we can make a lot of memories and we’ll be able to talk about them at family events,” Samantha Riese said.

Regardless of what happens at Wells Fargo Arena, the sisters will already have quite the story to tell – including a 17-game win streak and the school’s first state tourney berth since 2005.

“It feels awesome to know that we’ve worked this hard and it’s finally paying off after all these years,” said Caitlyn Riese, who has improved her field goal percentage from 33.1 percent last season to 58.3 this year.

As many sibling rivalries go, the Riese sisters’ friendly competition has remained a constant over the years.

“We’ve always been competitive being born a year apart,” Caitlyn Riese said. “During the summer we play on a hoop at home and we’re always trying to one up each other.”

Colo-NESCO’s post presence also extends beyond the Riese sisters with 5-foot-9 junior forward Madison Farren, who averages 7.7 points and 6.6 boards per contest, also creating problems for defenses inside.

And it’s a problem Cafferty relishes.

“We’ve got three good post players and we can rotate them all around,” said Cafferty, whose squad is the only team in the bracket to feature two players taller than 6 foot. “Everyone of them has had double figure scoring and rebounding, it’s just that we haven’t had Sam much of the season because she’s had multiple injuries she’s had to come back from.”

Monday’s regional final was one of the rare opportunities where all three played significant minutes and the trio delivered with a combined 37 points and 30 rebounds. With injuries hopefully in the rearview mirror for Samantha – Cafferty believes it’s a preview of how dangerous the Royals can be with a total of seven players scoring in double figures this year.

“They don’t care who scores – it’s whoever is open or whoever is hot,” Cafferty said.

With all three post players back next season, opponents won’t lose sight of the “Twin Towers” or Farren anytime soon.

And with another summer spent going toe-to-toe on the hoop at home – Caitlyn Riese believes the competitive streak with her sister is here to stay.

“We will definitely always be competing against each other – no question about it.”