Weather Forecast


Woodbury boys basketball: Season tips off right for Royals

Woodbury center Ben Rizzardi handles season tip-off duties during the Royals’ 81-70 home win over Shakopee. (Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker)1 / 2
Isaiah Coddon, a senior forward for the Royals, goes in for two of his 11 points on Nov. 26 against Shakopee. (Staff photo by Mike Longaecker) 2 / 2

The Royals didn’t match up well against the Shakopee Sabers – on paper.

But the significant size differential between the teams didn’t keep Woodbury from beating the visiting Sabers by double-digits last week.

The Royals, buoyed by 34 points from senior guard Matt Ambriz, topped Shakopee 81-70 on Nov. 6 at Woodbury High School.

“That’s a good win,” said Woodbury coach Scott Swansson. “We’re fortunate to beat them.”

Ambriz drained six 3-pointers during the game, most of which came during a torrid first half where he scored 21 points and hit five 3s.

Swansson said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the win, noting that practices leading up to the Shakopee contest weren’t encouraging.

“We came out and really battled,” he said.

Swansson credited senior center Ben Rizzardi for helping contain the Sabers’ two big men – Tyler Weiss, a 6-foot 8-inch senior and Jake Maiers, a 6-foot 7-inch senior. Rizzardi, listed at 6-foot-5, “just played like a man – and it was good,” Swansson said.

Rizzardi chipped in eight points against Shakopee, while fellow seniors Isaiah Coddon and Charlie Olson scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Senior Ben Meyer scored nine points for the Royals, with fellow 12th-grader Nick Yan chipping in seven points.

Swansson said he was encouraged by the ensemble performance, which he said will be needed when other opponents key their defense on Ambriz.

“There will be some other guys who step up,” the coach said.

That shouldn’t be hard, he said, noting that the current group of seniors has played together for years.

“They just kind of all know their role,” Swansson said.

Still, he said the Royals showed they will need to improve their conditioning – “especially down the stretch, where we need some stops.”

The Royals entered a busy week of nonconference play on Tuesday, Dec. 3, in a road game against St. Paul Johnson that was played after the Bulletin went to press. Woodbury stays on the road on Friday against Edina and closes out the week at 2 p.m. Saturday in a home game against Rosemount.

-Mike Longaecker

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

(715) 426-1072