Woodbury boys basketball: Royals come out shooting, fall to Buffalo in double OTWoodbury lost 100-95 to Buffalo at the Breakdown USA Tip Off Classic in Minnetonka, a showcase event for some of the state’s top teams.
By: Mike Longaecker, edtior, Woodbury Bulletin
You’d be forgiven if you mistook Saturday’s Woodbury-Buffalo tilt for a playoff game.
There was double overtime. There were pressure free throws. There were last-second shots.
Except that it wasn’t playoff basketball. It was the Royals’ first game of the season.
“It was quite a game, I have to admit,” Woodbury boys basketball coach Scott Swansson said. “There was everything.”
Everything but a notch in the win column for the Royals.
Woodbury lost 100-95 to Buffalo at the Breakdown USA Tip Off Classic in Minnetonka, a showcase event for some of the state’s top teams.
With 30 points in the game, senior guard Renard Suggs was one of five Royals who recorded double-digit scoring totals. Seniors Diallo Powell, Mario Franco and Matt Ambriz scored 20, 14 and 13 points respectively. Junior guard Nick Yan finished with 10 points in the game.
The Bison, led by Ethan Freer’s 30 points, widened the first-half margin to 39-34 on a buzzer-beater to end the frame.
But Woodbury came out of the break on fire and reclaimed the lead on a 6-0 run behind transition baskets from Suggs and Powell.
The Royals saw their lead extend to 71-65 with about two minutes left after Powell drained a three pointer. But with 55 seconds left in regulation, Buffalo sunk a key three-pointer of its own by Freer, narrowing Woodbury’s lead to 73-70.
Freer kept his hot hand ablaze in the closing seconds of regulation, nailing another three pointer with 14 seconds left. Up 77-75, Buffalo put Suggs on the free-throw line, where he couldn’t connect on the one-and-one opportunity.
Woodbury then fouled Buffalo, who tied the game after sinking both free throws.
A shot by Suggs on Woodbury’s final possession in regulation didn’t find the mark. The two teams finished regulation play knotted at 77.
The first overtime period saw Woodbury claim a six-point lead – behind a Suggs three-pointer and key free throws – with just over a minute remaining.
But Buffalo stormed back in the closing seconds. Down 86-83, Buffalo caught a break after Suggs fouled Jackson Senger while attempting a three-pointer. Senger drained all three of his free throws, forcing a tie game at 86.
Woodbury had the final overtime possession with 2 seconds left, but a three-point shot by Ambriz was blocked, sending the game into double-overtime.
“I thought we had it won in regulation. Then I thought we had won in the first overtime,” Swansson said.
Buffalo didn’t waste time scoring the second overtime, quickly building a five-point lead. Woodbury winnowed the lead to one point with about 1:30 remaining, but couldn’t close the gap.
“We just did some dumb things that I think I can chalk up to early-season inexperience that I don’t think we’ll do again,” Swansson said.
Woodbury now enters a grinder of week with three games in five days. That began Tuesday with a road game against Shakopee played after the Bulletin went to press.
The Royals play Edina on Thursday at home. The Hornets, who were also invited to the Tip Off Classic, boast two Division I recruits, Swansson said, and admitted that the game will be test.
“That’s good for us early in the season,” he said.
Woodbury closes out the week on the road Friday against Rosemount.