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Boys' Basketball: Royals clinch share of SEC title

The Woodbury boys' basketball team needed to work to defeat Forest Lake Friday and clinch a share of the Suburban East Conference title for the second consecutive season.

An 83-77 victory against Forest Lake Friday gave Woodbury a tie with East Ridge at the top of the final SEC standings. Many of this year's seniors and juniors have played roles in the two seasons when Woodbury has finished with a combined SEC record of 28-4. While some were disappointed to share the SEC title again, Woodbury head coach Kent Getzlaff reminded them about the challenge of finishing on top of the standings in back-to-back years.

"We were 14-2," Getzlaff said. "That's a heck of a record. If you finish 14-2, even if you have to share it, you had a really good season."

The Rangers kept the score close as Woodbury looked to close out the season with a win. Getzlaff said the Royals finally pulled away in the final two minutes.

"It's not like we had a 'gimme' game to end the year," Getzlaff said. "We had to grind it out. I thought we played a pretty good game, especially offensively."

Woodbury junior Michael Jones scored 30 points to eclipse the 1,000-career points mark in the victory Friday. Jones now has 1,026 career points heading into the start of this week's section playoffs. Getzlaff noted how difficult it is for players at the Class 4A level to reach 1,000 points, where there is often more competition to compete for a spot in the lineup.

"It was a great accomplishment for a really good kid who has worked really hard at his game," Getzlaff said. "Not many juniors get it in 4A basketball."

The Royals wrapped up the regular season with a record of 19-7 after losing a 68-57 home game to Eden Prairie Feb. 28. The Royals cut the deficit to three points multiple times in the second half but could not get any closer in the nonconference loss.

Woodbury was given the second seed in the Class 4A, Section 4 playoffs and will start the tournament with a home game against White Bear Lake on Wednesday. The winner of that game will play either Tartan or St. Paul Central in the section semifinals on Saturday at Hastings High School.

The section field is loaded with at least four contenders heading into the start of the tournament. East Ridge, Woodbury, and Cretin-Derham Hall were contenders in the SEC, and Tartan went 23-3 in the regular season.

"Everybody that's in the section, in the top four, has spent up to half of the season in the top-10," Getzlaff said. "To be honest, if you asked every single coach who the most talented team in the section is they are going to tell you Cretin. And they are the four seed."