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Girls' Basketball: Raptors hold off Royals

Noelle Tomes of the Raptors drives to the basket early in Tuesday's game. Tomes scored 24 points to lead all scorers in East Ridge's 69-52 victory. (Photo by John Molene)1 / 5
East Ridge's Kelen Kenol eyes the basket as Woodbury's Ellie Kreibich applies defense. Kenol had 10 points for the Raptors. (Photo by John Molene)2 / 5
Woodbury's Solape Amusan and East Ridge's Mariah Sexe mix it up under the basket in the first half of East Ridge's 69-52 win Tuesday. (Photo by John Molene)3 / 5
Woodbury's Cecile Kieger starts to go up for two as East Ridge defender Kelen Kenol closes in in the second half Tuesday. Kieger had 22 points for the Royals in the game. (Photo by John Molene)4 / 5
Woodbury junior guard Rachel Hakes shoots over East Ridge's Emma Stoehr in the second half Tuesday. Hakes scored 19 points for the Royals. (Photo by John Molene)5 / 5

The East Ridge girls' basketball team jumped on Woodbury early in Tuesday's rivalry game and chalked up an impressive 69-52 win.

The eighth-ranked Raptors stormed out to a 14-2 advantage to start the Suburban East Conference home game, and while Woodbury closed the gap in the second half, they were more or less in too deep a hole.

“It was a great start,” East Ridge coach Glen Wurm said. “My assistant Tony (Olsen) and I were talking about how we need to play well, and it sure helps when you start well. We talked about being efficient offensively, and we were. We were getting shots and making baskets.”

East Ridge improved to 11-3 on the season and 5-1 in the conference.

Woodbury tumbled to 8-5 overall and 4-3 in league games.

It was the third straight win in the crosstown series for the Raptors, and their largest margin of victory in those games.

It was a big win for the Raptors, who moved into a first-place tie with Cretin-Derham Hall for the conference lead at 5-1. White Bear Lake and Roseville are 5-2 while Woodbury Is 4-3.

“I think it really helps us with a win toward our conference and I think it’s a booster for us just knowing we beat our rivals, too,” senior guard Emma Stoehr said.

Star senior guard Noelle Tomes scored 24 points to pace the Raptors. Tomes often matched up against Woodbury ace Rachel Hakes in an intense battle.

Senior center Mariah Sexe scored 15 points, Kelen Kenol had 10, and Emma Stoehr added nine for the Raptors.

Cecile Kieger scored 22 points for the Royals while Hakes had 19.

Tomes scored six of East Ridge’s first 10 points, Sexe had one basket and Kenol had the other – all layups – as the Raptors ran their break and passed brilliantly in the game’s opening minutes.

“It (the fast start) boosted our confidence more than anything,” Tomes said. “Most games our starts aren’t the best, so in a game like this to come out with a good start it helps the entire game.

“First half I definitely think we moved the ball offensively,” Tomes added. "We struggled a little with their screens and like rebounding, but we definitely picked it up the second half I thought.”

Woodbury, on the other hand, couldn’t buy a bucket, and that stayed true pretty much from start to finish. The Royals connected on just 21 percent from the field.

East Ridge led 14-2 and 20-7 in the first half before taking a 32-19 lead into the break.

Woodbury fought back in the second half behind the play of Hakes and Kieger. The Royals closed to within 53-43 on a 3-point shot by Kieger with 6:40 left to play. Hakes scored to make it a 54-45 game with 5:03 remaining, but the Royals couldn't get any closer.

Woodbury coach Megan Kirchenwitz said the Royals played rushed and didn’t take good shots to open the game.

“We weren’t as selective as we normally are,” Kirchenwitz said. “Then we got in a 13-point deficit, and it was tough to come all the way back.

“We started out playing tight and passing,” Kirchenwitz added.

East Ridge also had a huge advantage at the free-throw line, making 22 of 25 attempts to just 5-of-8 for Woodbury.

East Ridge (11-3, 5-1) hosts Mounds View (4-11, 0-5) Thursday.

Woodbury (8-5, 4-3) continues its challenging stretch of schedule with a home game against Cretin-Derham Hall (9-2, 5-1) Friday. The Royals have taken on No. 10 Park Center, No. 8 East Ridge and Cretin-Derham Hall in succession this week. Woodbury is also still the only team to defeat No. 3 Apple Valley (11-1) this season.