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Girls basketball: East Ridge takes down Woodbury for first time ever

East Ridge senior Katie Hagberg and the Raptors girls basketball team beat intra-district rival Woodbury for the first time ever on Tuesday, Jan. 3, then continued their momentum as they took a win against the Hastings last week.1 / 3
East Ridge sophomore Jamie Swanson scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds in the win over Woodbury.2 / 3
Senior Allison Berry and East Ridge celebrated their second win of the week with a 60-39 defeat Hastings.3 / 3

After a nail-bitingly intense game, the East Ridge girls basketball team celebrated a huge victory last week.

The Raptors beat intra-district rival Woodbury, 61-55, for the first time ever on Tuesday, Jan. 3, then continued their momentum as they took a win against the Hastings on Friday, Jan. 6.

East Ridge's two-win streak last week brings them to a current overall record of 6-5 and a 2-3 standing in the Suburban East Conference.

In Tuesday night's game against Woodbury (4-7; 1-4 SEC), Royals junior center Elizabeth Sampson scored the first basket of the game less than a minute into the first half. East Ridge bounced back soon after, with senior center Katie Hagberg netting in a shot to even the score. The Raptors took a solid lead with 10:30 on the clock after sophomore forward Jamie Swanson netted a basket and then another eight seconds later to bring the score to 12-9 for East Ridge. Woodbury struggled to keep up and the Raptors held a five-point lead and a 25-20 score when the buzzer rang to signal the end of the first half.

The second half had a quick start after Raptors junior guard Brianna Walker shot in a basket within the first 30 seconds, making the score 27-20 for East Ridge. The Raptors continued their assault, scoring five points in the next three and a half minutes and allowing the Royals to net in only one basket in that time. Woodbury began to catch up, however, after Royals junior center Mikayla Hunter, senior guard Raeanna Zellmer and junior guard Kristina White netted baskets to narrow East Ridge's lead and bring the score to 32-27 with 13:18 left on the clock.

East Ridge and Woodbury took turns scoring and the game saw its climax with 9:09 left in the game after Woodbury evened up the score 38-38. East Ridge wasn't willing to lose, however, and Walker set the Raptors ahead once again at 8:36 after she netted in a two-point basket. Though both teams continued to score throughout the remaining minutes in the match, the Raptors defensive playing was successful in holding the Royals back and East Ridge walked away with a 61-55 win.

Outstanding Raptors players in Tuesday's game included Walker, who scored 11 points and had seven assists; Swanson, who scored 11 points in the match, had 10 rebounds and back-to-back steals for layups; Hagberg, who shot in 12 points; freshman guard Amanda Robinson, who made nine points; junior guard Courtney Keefe, who made two clutch free throws at the latter end of the game; and senior guard Allison Berry, whose sharp defensive playing had a considerable effect in the match.

Raptors head coach Glen Wurm rejoiced over the Raptors' huge win over the Royals, saying that the triumph was a great way to open up the New Year. He attributed the victory to the fact that the girls were playing and working together as a team.

"We are at our best when we take care of the ball and pass it," Wurm commented. "It was a fun game for the girls. They are beginning to trust the fact that hard work on a daily basis will pay off on game night."

In Friday night's game against the Hastings Raiders (2-9; 0-5 SEC), East Ridge was looking to win again, and that's exactly what they did.

East Ridge gained the upper hand early on and kept it. At the end of the first half the Raptors were up by 21 points and shot in another 23 points during the second half. The Raptors celebrated their second win of the week with a 60-39 score.

Hagberg helped bring the Raptors to their victory with 18 points and 13 rebounds. She was accompanied by outstanding playing from Walker, who contributed 14 points and nine rebounds; Swanson, who had 13 points and five rebounds; and Robinson, who had seven assists in the match.

Wurm said Friday's contest was another "solid game," noting that it was the girls' on-point shooting, tight defense and their willingness to share the ball with each other that won them the game against Hastings.

The Raptors hosted Forest Lake at the "Raptors Perch" on Tuesday, after the Bulletin went to print. Next, East Ridge hosts Mounds View (8-3; 4-1 SEC) on Friday, Jan. 13 and is set to host Mahtomedi (5-6) in a non-conference competition on Saturday, Jan. 14.