Woodbury girls basketball: Royals denied state bid
Woodbury's bid for a state tournament berth fell short Thursday against St. Paul Central, which imposed its will with a size advantage and a smothering defense.
The No. 2-seeded Royals fell 58-47 to the top-seeded Minutemen in the Section 4AAAA championship game at East Ridge High School.
The loss brings an end to a remarkable turnaround season for Woodbury, which compiled a 19-10 record after going 9-17 in 2011-12.
Woodbury head coach Nathan McGuire said the buy-in from his players - especially the seniors - helped accomplish that feat.
"That's why we turned it around with nine more wins this season," he said. "Obviously we had the goal to go to state this year. We put in the time and the effort to do that. We just came up a little short."
Central's 6-foot 3-inch center Sade Chatman turned in a dominating first-half performance on her way to a 19-point night.
"Sade just beat us," McGuire said. "There's nothing we could do - we couldn't push her out."
The Minutemen dominated early and capitalized on a Woodbury offense that sputtered early on; the Royals didn't record their first field goal until more than 10 minutes into the first half.
"We just came out cold," McGuire said, noting that Woodbury shot 24 percent in the first half. "That really was the big difference."
Central built a 28-18 halftime lead that grew to a 20-point deficit in the second half. The Minutemen were able to force costly turnovers through traps and commanded the rebounding battle for much of the game.
"They're just so quick and they're all over the place," McGuire said.
Seniors Kristina White and Courtney Schiffler led Woodbury's scoring attack with 11 points. Eighth grader Cecile Kieger scored eight points for Woodbury.