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Woodbury, Park girls advance in section play

Woodbury senior guard Kassidy Mackie brings the ball up court under pressure from a St. Paul Central opponent. John Molene / Sports Writer 1 / 2
Woodbury junior forward Solape Amusan goes up for two of her 16 points in the second half Feb. 28, 2018, against St. Paul Central in Woodbury's 50-44 win. John Molene / Sports Writer 2 / 2

Woodbury advanced to the semifinals of the Section 4AAAA girls basketball tournament, but it wasn't as easy as the Royals might have liked.

Woodbury trailed 40-37 with 7:26 to play before pulling away down the stretch for a 50-44 victory Wednesday, Feb. 28. The Royals outscored the Minutemen 13-4 over the game's final seven and a half minutes to earn the win.

"We hit a little bit of a rough patch, got away from Woodbury ball, shooting a little too quickly" Woodbury coach Megan Kirchenwitz said. "Defensively we were still OK. Holding a team to that few of points in a game when a team transitions that well is all right. We just need to be more patient."

The third-seeded Royals will play SEC rival and second-seeded Stillwater (17-10) Saturday at Hastings with a 5 p.m. start time. Stillwater swept the season series this winter, winning 69-56 and 81-71.

Stillwater ended East Ridge's season with a 76-49 win Wednesday.

Senior guard Rachel Hakes drove in for a layup, then made two free throws with six and a half minutes left to regain the lead for the Royals at 41-40. Woodbury led the rest f the way and successfully played keep-a-way for the game's final minutes.

Hakes and junior forward Solape Amusan each scored 16 points to lead the Royals offensively.

Woodbury improved to 15-12 on the season.

St. Paul Central's season ended at 13-13.

Woodbury led 30-18 at the half and seemingly had the game comfortably in hand. But the Minutemen got hot from the outside, their zone started bothering the Royals and all of a sudden it was a ballgame. St. Paul Central outscored Woodbury 22-7 over the first eight minutes of the second half to take a 40-37 lead.

"We kind of lost our composure just a little bit," Hakes said. "We were doing one pass, jack and drive and shot. We just need t o get back to Woodbury basketball and play team ball and be a little bit more unselfish."

St. Paul Central also knocked the Royals around a little bit more than Woodbury was used to.

"She (coach Kirchenwitz) just told us how we had to stay together as a team and just stay composed even though that game was a little rough," Amusan said.

"I like the way that they battled through the physicality of the game," Kirchenwitz said. "I thought it got quite physical there at the end and I was proud of them that they kept their emotions in check."

Park

Park edged visiting Burnsville 68-62 Wednesday, Feb. 28, to advance In Section 3AAA girls basketball.

Park had four players in double figures, led by Riley Perryman's 17 points. Molly Wenner and Delaney Young had 16 each and Taylor Johnson added 14.

Burnsville led 32-31 at the half, but Park outscored the visitors 37-30 in the second half.

The Wolfpack (19-8) will play Apple Valley (16-11) Saturday at Gangelhoff Center at Concordia University in St. Paul. Tipoff is 12:23 p.m. Apple Valley advanced with a 53-39 win over Henry Sibley.

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