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Tartan flies past Woodbury in 4AAAA tourney

Tartan's Joel Awich stretches out for a dunk Friday against Woodbury. Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker

Woodbury was no match Friday for one of the top teams in the state, ending their season with a loss during quarterfinal play in the Section 4AAAA tournament.

The Titans, playing on their home court, cruised to victory over Woodbury 64-46.

Tartan used a smothering defense to force turnovers and fast-break points for which the Royals couldn't find an answer.

Woodbury coach Scott Swansson said Tartan, ranked No. 7 in the state, was tough on the other end of the court, too.

"They space the floor well, so it's hard to guard all five guys," he said after the game. "But we need to score some more points."

Woodbury recorded the first point of the night but never led after that. Tartan quickly opened up a 9-1 lead, including two points off a Joel Awich dunk that got the home crowd on its feet, and several transition buckets.

Still, Woodbury managed to penetrate the lane and hit open shots in the first half, trailing 32-24 at the break.

The Royals stayed within striking distance well into the second half, trailing 50-40 with 7:28 remaining.

"We were hanging around," Swansson said. "Two or three threes and we're back in it."

But Tartan stepped on the gas after that, allowing just four more Woodbury points the remainder of the game.

Friday's game was the last for Woodbury forward Mike Policano, one of four seniors on the team.

"It's definitely been tough knowing that it's all over," he said.

He called Tartan "a very good team" with strong fundamentals and speed.

"They'll go far in the tournament," Policano said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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