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Woodbury boys basketball: Royals upset by Mounds View

Woodbury’s Isaiah Codden goes in for two against Mounds View. (Bulletin photos by Mike Longaecker)

The Royals watched a hard-fought first-half lead wither away last week during a road match-up against Mounds View.

Woodbury lost 71-69 on Dec. 17 to the Mustangs – the Royals’ first loss since Dec. 3, when they were defeated by St. Paul Johnson.

After falling behind early against Mounds View, the Royals battled back to build a 44-38 halftime lead. Senior guard Matt Ambriz recorded 25 points in the half for Woodbury.

But the well-balanced Mustangs surged in the second half. Four Mounds View players posted double-digit point totals, led by senior guard Ben Spencer’s 20 points. Senior forward Tim Hanson scored 16 for the Mustangs.

Woodbury head coach Scott Swansson said a critical offensive foul with just under a minute left hung a curse on the Royals. The foul gave the Mustangs control of the ball and they responded with a game-winning 3-pointer.

The Royals weren’t able to convert their remaining scoring opportunities.

“We just need to make a few more shots,” Swansson said. “We had a chance to win a good game on the road and I think we basically handed them the game.”

Ambriz finished with 30 points in the game. Fellow senior guard Nick Yan recorded 14 points against Mounds View in the Suburban East Conference match-up.

The loss dropped Woodbury to 5-2 (2-1 SEC). The Royals returned to the road Friday, Dec. 20, for a game against Hastings that was played after the Bulletin went to press.

While other students will be relaxing over winter break this week, the Royals will stay busy. Woodbury is one of eight teams competing in the Rotary-US Bank Holiday Tournament in Rochester. The Royals were last year’s tournament champions.

Woodbury plays Round 1 at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, against Rochester Century at Taylor Arena. Games continue through Saturday, with the championship game set for 6:30 p.m. at Mayo Civic Center.

Also competing in the tournament are Rochester Lourdes, Osseo, Rochester John Marshall, Lakeville South, Rochester Mayo and Minnetonka.

Coming out of the break, Woodbury returns to SEC action at home Jan. 3 against cross-town rival East Ridge.

-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

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