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Woodbury boys basketball: Royals rally to comeback win over No. 3 Roseville

Fans stormed the court after the Royals overcame a double-digit deficit to win at home against the No. 3-ranked Roseville Raiders. Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker1 / 2
Woodbury senior forward Mario Franco pumps his fist after time expired in the Royals' 80-71 win over visiting Roseville. Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker2 / 2

Don't count them out.

That was the message the Woodbury Royals sent in an inspired second half of basketball to claim a comeback win at home in its biggest win so far this season against a Suburban East Conference opponent.

Down 40-27 after the first half, the Royals overcame seemingly everything that ailed them in the first half - hitting open shots, finishing transition offense opportunities and limiting second-chance points on defense - on their way to an 80-71 win over Roseville, the No. 3-ranked team in Class 4A.

The win improved Woodbury's conference record to 5-2 and moved the Royals to within one game of Roseville - who fell to 6-1 in the SEC with the loss - and East Ridge, also at 6-1.

Senior Mario Franco was a key leader in the comeback effort. He brought the Royals to within two after hitting a contested outside jump shot with 10:36 left in the game. Woodbury's Diallo Powell pushed his team over the hump with 6:40 left after converting a fast break opportunity.

The Royals were able to keep standout Roseville player Mackenzie Johnson at bay for much of the game, despite the fact the senior scored his 1,000th career point in the second half.

But critical 3-pointers by Franco and junior guard Matt Ambriz preserved Woodbury's lead on their way to the win.

Franco led Woodbury's scoring attack with 22 points, followed by fellow senior Renard Suggs with 21. Ambriz scored 14 against the Raiders, while Robert Claypool finished with 13 in the game.

Check back later for more details on the game.

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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