Woodbury boys basketball: Royals move into tie for Suburban East Conference leadWoodbury continued its winning ways last week, both in and out of Suburban East Conference play.
By: Mike Longaecker, edtior, Woodbury Bulletin
Woodbury continued its winning ways last week, both in and out of Suburban East Conference play.
The No. 8-ranked Royals topped Hudson on Feb. 5 and eked out a win against SEC foe Stillwater on Friday, Feb. 8. The week also saw Woodbury (17-3, 10-2 SEC) climb into a tie for the conference lead after Roseville (10-2 SEC) fell Friday to Cretin-Derham Hall.
“We have to keep our eye on the prize here,” said head Woodbury boys basketball coach Scott Swansson.
His Royals earned a hard-fought 56-55 road victory Friday over Stillwater in a rematch that saw the Ponies winning the first game of the regular season match-up.
Since losing to Stillwater on Jan. 4, Woodbury has gone on a 10-game winning streak, with six of those victories coming on the road.
Against Stillwater, Woodbury opened up a sizeable lead – pulling ahead 32-8 at one point – and led 34-15 at the half. Stillwater’s size advantage was a major factor in the Jan. 4 game and Swansson said he wasn’t going to let that happen again. In the first half of Friday’s game, Woodbury was able to minimize that threat by forcing turnovers and creating fast-break opportunities.
“We played just tremendous defense in the first half doing that,” Swansson said.
The second half, however, proved to be a battle. Stillwater was able to run its offense through the post position, outscoring the Royals 40-22 in the half.
Still, Woodbury never lost its lead during the game against what Swansson said is the No. 2 team in Minnesota in points allowed.
“They give us some tough match-ups,” he said of Stillwater, 13-6, 7-5 SEC. “Whenever you can beat a good team on the road, you’re happy.”
Senior guard Diallo Powell led the Royals’ scoring attack with 18 points. Both Mario Franco and Matt Ambriz scored 11 for Woodbury, while Renard Suggs added 10 in the win.
Earlier in the week, the Royals earned another road win with a 64-47 victory over Hudson (7-13, 4-6 Big Rivers Conference).
Though Swansson called the match-up a “non-descript game” against the non-conference foe, he said he wasn’t thrilled with his players’ intensity.
“I think we kind of floated through,” he said.
Suggs led the way for Woodbury in the victory with 14 points. He was followed by Powell with 13, while Ambriz and Franco both finished with 12 points.
Junior Hudson forward Alex Herink led all scorers with 19 points.
Woodbury played a home game Tuesday, Feb. 12, against White Bear Lake (8-4 SEC) before heading back on the road to face Forest Lake (4-8 SEC).
Those games comprise part of a three-game series that sets the stage for a critical rematch against the No. 9-ranked Roseville Raiders, who Woodbury beat at home in January.
“We’ve got to win three games before we get to Roseville … (and) get that game to mean something,” Swansson said.