Woodbury girls roll the Rangers
Woodbury Girls' Basketball
Friday's 58-45 win over visiting Forest Lake put a satisfying finish to a rather roller-coaster week for the Woodbury Royals.
Woodbury thrashed Cretin-Derham Hall by 20 points a week ago, lost at home to Edina by 10, but then finished off the week with an impressive 13-point win over a good Forest Lake team.
The Royals outscored the visitors 24-6 during an eight-minute stretch at the end of the first half and first part of the second to take control of the game.
Woodbury surged from a 17-all tie to a 27-17 halftime lead, capped by Maren Blodgett's 3-point bank shot that hit home to end the half.
The Royals kept up their red-hot run to start the second half. Leading scorer Cecile Kieger opened the half by nailing a 3-point field goal and Woodbury stormed to a 41-23 lead with 14 minutes remaining. Kieger had eight points in a 14-point Woodbury burst, Rachel Hakes added two baskets and Cam Veenbaas had one.
Woodbury split the game in four-minute stretches, Kieger said, and the Royals turned the final four minutes of the first half and first four minutes of the second into the margin of victory.
"We split the game into four minute sections and we always want to win every four minutes," Kieger said.
Forest Lake closed the margin to 10 points with 4:17 remaining, but that was as close as the Rangers could get.
The Royals made 10 of 12 free throws in the final 2:28 to salt the game away. Woodbury killed it at the line all game, making 23 of 29 free throws overall.
Woodbury also out-rebounded the Rangers 38-26
It was a big win for the Royals, who stayed within striking distance of the leaders in the race for a Suburban East Conference crown. Woodbury climbed to 6-3 in the Suburban East Conference — two games back of league-leading East Ridge — and improved to 10-6 on the season.
It was also a revenge win for the Royals, who lost at Forest Lake back on Dec. 13, 59-51.
Kieger led Woodbury with 18 points. Hakes scored 13, Blodgett and Ellie Kriebich added eight each and Veenbaas scored six.
"We were very balanced," said Kieger. "Everyone was in on the play — it wasn't just like two or three people came. It was everybody working together."
Forest Lake fell to 5-6 in the league and 11-7 overall.
"I thought we shared the ball pretty well, and we passed it around the horn really good," said Hakes. "Whenever we play unselfish and get balanced scoring, that's when we win."
The Royals have a huge week this week, playing at White Bear Lake (11-7, 7-3) Tuesday, then hosting seventh-ranked Roseville (16-2, 8-2) Friday in another key SEC contest.
There are few easy games in the SEC this season.
"We like it like that," said Hakes.