The East Ridge boys' basketball team has settled nicely into the middle of its season, winning five of its past six games.
The Raptors' finished off a 2-0 week with a 70-58 Suburban East Conference victory at Stillwater on Friday, Jan. 5. The win improved the season record to 7-3.
"I think we still have a long way to go in terms of reaching our potential as a team," head coach Bryce Tesdahl said. "But with the new system and new philosophy and new expectations, the kids are starting to buy in more and more each day."
Junior Courtney Brown Jr. scored his 1,000th point at Stillwater and led East Ridge with 21 points. Ben Carlson and Kendall Brown each scored 18 points as well.
Brown has established himself as a basketball prospect during his time at East Ridge, getting multiple Division 1 offers. Tesdahl expects to see more from the junior over the next few years.
"I know he's got bigger goals and bigger dreams and bigger aspirations individually and for the team, but he's working hard to be able to accomplish a lot of that before he leaves East Ridge High School next year," Tesdahl said.
East Ridge also defeated St. Paul Central 72-66 in a road game on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Carlson scored 29 points for the Raptors and Brown also finished with 27.
The Raptors are next looking forward to a showdown with crosstown rival Woodbury on Wednesday, Jan. 10. It will be Tesdahl's first matchup with Woodbury as head coach at East Ridge.
It will also give home fans a chance to see the Raptors after eight of the season's first 10 games were played on the road.
"It is a big rivalry game, and I have a lot of respect for coach Getzlaff and his program and what he does on a yearly basis with their program," Tesdahl said. "It should be a great atmosphere for high school basketball, and we're looking forward to being back at home."
Royals defeat Park in SEC play
The Woodbury boys' basketball team defeated Park 88-47 to get a win in the team's first game in 2018.
Senior Michael Jones scored 25 points, and DJ Fleming added 15 in the home victory. Domenik Block scored 20 points to lead the Wolfpack in the Suburban East Conference game. Charlie Gorres added 16 points.
The win helped the Royals bounce back from a 72-55 loss to Park Center and a 62-50 loss to Orono at the Granite City Classic on Dec. 29 and 30 to wrap up 2017.
Park Center is ranked sixth among the state's Class 4A teams while Orono is sixth in the Class 3A polls.
Woodbury owns a 6-4 record on the season while Park is 5-4.
New Life Academy goes 1-1
The New Life Academy boys' basketball team finished 1-1 on the week after defeating PACT Charter School on the road but losing to St. Croix Lutheran at home.
St. Croix Lutheran won a 69-49 home game against the Eagles on Saturday, Jan. 6. Drew Wynia led Eagles scorers in the loss with 18 points. Eli Gorter led the Eagles with 17 points in a 57-45 win over PACT on Thursday, Jan. 4.