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Boys' Basketball: Royals season ends in a letdown

Jake West dribbles the ball into the Tartan defense during Saturday’s section playoff game. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)1 / 2
Ike Thilgen dribbles the basketball during the first half of Saturday’s section playoff game against Tartan. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)2 / 2

It was not the end that the Woodbury boys' basketball team had in mind in the closing minutes of the Class 4A, Section 4 semifinals on Saturday night.

Trailing by 30 points in the final minutes, head coach Kent Getzlaff subbed in his junior varsity team to finish off the playoff game at Hastings High School.

An 87-54 loss to Tartan was a cruel end for a Woodbury boys' basketball team that won 20 games this season and earned the second seed in the section playoffs.

"It was just humbling in every single possible way for the players and the coaches," Getzlaff said. "I really wished it would have ended differently. Those kids deserved it. I wish I could have done more to give them a better ending."

The Titans jumped out 25-11 after 10 minutes had passed and held a 47-27 lead at halftime. Tartan used defensive pressure to force Woodbury turnovers early that led to transition points on the other end of the floor.

"Our turnovers led to easy baskets," Getzlaff said. "They had 26 layups, so 52 of their points came uncontested at the rim. It doesn't matter how good you are on offense. You're never going to win a game if that's the case."

Tartan's offensive depth also challenged Woodbury's defense on Saturday. Five different Titans finished with at least 10 points, with Jordan Horn scoring 18 points and Damien Goergen finishing with 16.

Michael Jones led Woodbury with 16 points scored, and Jake West also scored 14 points.

"They just played more aggressive than us, harder than us," senior Ike Thilgen said. "They wanted it more than us."

Woodbury wrapped up its season with a record of 20-7, finishing in a first-place tie with East Ridge at the top of the Suburban East Conference after both teams went 14-2.

It was the second consecutive season where the Royals won a share of the SEC title, something the players tried to keep in mind when reflecting on the season after a section loss.

"It sucks, but other than that we had a really good season," Thilgen said. "We had 20 wins, co-conference championship. It sucks the way it ended, but you've got to remember the good stuff about the season, too."

Tartan will play Cretin-Derham Hall in the section championship game on Thursday at Hastings High School. Cretin-Derham Hall defeated East Ridge 80-79 in overtime in the other section semifinals game on Saturday.

**This version of the Woodbury boys' basketball article corrects an earlier error that stated Woodbury was the top seed in the Class 4A, Section 4 tournament. Woodbury was the second seed.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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