Royals fall in Wonderland tourneyWoodbury tops Minneapolis Southwest in opener, falls to North St. Paul in final.
By: Tom Carothers, Woodbury Bulletin
It was an up-and-down tournament for the Woodbury girls basketball team, as the Royals could not muster a championship in their “Winter Wonderland” Invitational Tournament one night after securing a landmark triumph for the team’s leader last week.
While the Royals earned win No. 500 for coach Dave Preller with a 58-50 victory over Minneapolis Southwest in the tourney opener on Tuesday, Dec. 22, a 49-42 loss to North St. Paul in the invitational finale the next night left Woodbury with a second loss to ponder as the squad took two weeks off from competition.
“North St. Paul is a good team, they have a player in the middle who can really play,” Preller said.
That player, junior center Lisa Loeffler, recorded a Polar-high 16 points — outdone only by Woodbury guard Kristina White, who scored 18 points — as North St. Paul kept the hosts at arm’s length throughout the contest.
One of White’s backcourt mates, Michelle Young, recorded 10 points, while forward Mary Kroening was held to 10 points as Woodbury fell to 6-2 on the season.
While the Woodbury faithful may have left “The Lion’s Den” glum after the loss, it was a different scene just 24 hours earlier as the Royals held off a gritty Southwest club as Preller recorded his milestone victory.
"I feel relief for the girls," Preller said, referring to the chase for 500 after the Lakers win. "I think this affected them quite a bit tonight."
Win No. 500 was hardly a victory lap for the Royals, as a gritty Lakers team gave the hosts all they could handle throughout the contest before falling after a late Woodbury surge.
Young led the Royals with 16 points and six rebounds, while Kroening notched 13 points and five boards. Guard Erin Slayton chipped in 12 points for the night.
“Mary has been carrying us and Michelle has done a great job having to fill in at point guard,” Preller said.
The team’s usual starting point guard, Kassey Kallman, is scheduled to return following the holiday break after missing December with a broken foot.
Woodbury, 3-0 in Suburban East Conference play, travels to face SEC rival Hastings on Tuesday, Jan. 5.