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Boys' Basketball: Royals prevail over rival Raptors in overtime

Michael Jones dribbles past the defense of East Ridge's Courtney Brown Jr. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)1 / 4
Marcus Haskins drives to the basket during the second half of Tuesday's game. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)2 / 4
Jake West tries to get a shot past the hands of East Ridge defender Ben Carlson. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)3 / 4
Courtney Brown Jr. goes to the hoop for a layup during the second half of Tuesday's game. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)4 / 4

The top scorers on the Woodbury and East Ridge boys’ basketball teams traded shot after shot during the 18-minute second half of Tuesday's rivalry game.

But 36 minutes of play was not enough for the inter-city rivals with the score tied 66-66.

The Royal's shooters only needed four more minutes to separate themselves for good in an 80-74 victory against East Ridge in a packed gymnasium at Woodbury High School.

Senior Nolan Glunz listed off about six teammates who had positive performances when reflecting back on his team's overtime win. It wasn't an exaggeration.

“That’s just what we needed today,” said Glunz, who scored 12 points on four three-pointers. “We have a team full of gamers, I feel like.”

Scorers Michael Jones and Jake West combined for 11 of Woodbury’s 14 points in overtime during the team's final push. An Ike Thilgen three-pointer helped open up a 73-68 lead with 1:50 left in overtime. Jones and West each sunk free throws from there to hold off East Ridge.

“I think we finally started to relax as the game went on,” Nathan Bursch said about the difference in overtime. “We had some players who were getting a little too emotionally into it, and then once we started going back into just playing they couldn’t handle it. Good results happen.”

Twice East Ridge lost games last season against Woodbury with final deficits of nine and 11 points. The Raptors had an opportunity with less than 15 seconds left in regulation to break the 66-66 tie, but the shot did not fall.

Sophomore Courtney Brown Jr. said the difference in the overtime period came down to Woodbury's clutch shooting and execution at the free-throw line.

“They made a lot of threes,” Brown said. “We’ve just got to play better defense. They were getting to the basket when they wanted to.”

Woodbury looked like it was on its way to a blowout early as it opened up a 16-5 lead eight-and-a-half minutes into the game. But the Raptors came all the way back to trail by just one point, 25-24, at halftime.

Head coach Kent Getzlaff said the Woodbury offense was at its best when the players were completing passes and looking for open shots.

“I’m really, really proud of how the guys just trusted the process,” Getzlaff said. “If we share the ball and move it, the right things are going to happen.”

Jones led Woodbury’s offense by scoring 33 points in the victory, including 18 points in the second half. West also finished with 13 points.

Brown led East Ridge’s offense by scoring 24 points, with Nick Christenson chipping in 15 points.

Woodbury improved its conference record to 6-0 with Tuesday’s win. East Ridge dropped to 4-2.

The tough games are not over for the Royals as they will travel to Cretin-Derham Hall Friday. The matchup will be between the final two undefeated teams in the Suburban East Conference.

The Royals are headed back to the practice floor tomorrow afternoon preparing for the Raiders.

“Use tonight and tomorrow to recover, and then really hit it hard and start getting ready for those guys,” junior David Alston said. “Because they are a really good team over there.”