Woodbury boys basketball: Winning streak snaps for RoyalsWoodbury’s five-game winning streak came to an end last week in two non-conference losses.
By: Mike Longaecker, Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
It couldn’t last forever.
Woodbury’s five-game winning streak came to an end last week in two non-conference losses.
“It was eventually bound to happen,” said Woodbury coach Scott Swansson.
Lakeville North, one of the top teams in the state, topped the Royals 68-60 on Thursday, Dec. 22. The loss came two days after the Royals dropped their first game of the season, 67-54, to Rosemount.
The Lakeville North game was evenly matched through the first half, which closed on a 31-31 tie.
Swansson said his Royals kept the edge throughout most of the game until just over two minutes remained. But Woodbury stayed within striking distance – down by three with 38 seconds to play. The final shots, however, just wouldn’t fall, Swansson said.
The Panthers were powered by leading scorer Ryan Saarela, who recorded 19 points in the game.
“He’s a nice player,” Swansson said of Saarela. “He’s a very active, agile post player.”
Senior forward Connor McKeen paced the Royals with 15 points against Lakeville North. Tyler Graves added 13 for the Royals, while teammate Ryan Fritze chipped in 11 on the night.
Swansson praised his players for competing hard against the No. 4 team in Minnesota. Despite being undersized, the Royals “didn’t back down from anything,” he said.
“I like that,” Swansson said. “That’ the kind of stuff we’re looking for in this team.”
In the Rosemount game, the Royals “ran into a buzzsaw,” Swansson said.
Woodbury found itself in a 30-15 first-half hole. The Royals bounced back big in the second half – outscoring the Irish 39-37 in the frame – but couldn’t muster enough for a win.
“We just had a bad shooting night and Rosemount had a great shooting night,” he said.
McKeen led all scorers with 18 against Rosemount. Teammate Rickey Suggs poured in 12 points in the losing effort.
Now 5-2 overall (1-0 Suburban East Conference), the Royals head into the heart of conference play.
Woodbury travels Saturday to Roseville, which was also 1-0 in SEC play headed into this week. Action heats up Tuesday, Jan. 3, in an intradistrict rivalry game when East Ridge comes to Woodbury. The Royals finish off the week on Friday, Jan. 6, in a road game at Stillwater.
“They’re all good,” Swansson said. “If we don’t come ready to play every night, there’s such a thin margin of error. If you’re not ready and someone else is, you’re gonna get your butt kicked.”