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Woodbury girls fall to No. 8 Cretin-Derham Hall

Kassidy Mackie of the Royals drives to the basket in the first half against Cretin-Derham Hall. John Molene / Contributor 1 / 2
Woodbury's Rachel Hakes is fouled as she goes up for a shot early in the first half Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, against eighth-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall. John Molene / Contributor 2 / 2

Woodbury got off to a strong start, but faded down the stretch Friday, Jan. 19, in a 69-53 loss to eighth-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall.

The Royals led 8-3 early and were still in striking distance at the half, trailing 31-24, and with seven minutes to play, down just 51-45.

But the Raiders finished strongly, outscoring the host Royals 18-8 over the game's final seven minutes to make the final score look more lopsided than the game really was.

League-leading Cretin improved to 7-1 in the Suburban East Conference and 11-3 on the season.

Woodbury dropped to 5-3 in the conference and 9-6 overall.

Woodbury head coach Megan Kirchenwitz told her players to use this game as a learning experience.

"You can't walk away being negative, No. 1," Kirchenwitz said. "We had them in a position at halftime, I thought we were in a good spot — they went on a run to end the half, the other team — but we were in a good head space. I knew exactly what they needed to do scout-wise and what we needed to do. We needed our dynamic trio to be on the floor without fouls. We needed (Carley) West and (Solape) Amusan on the floor."

That didn't happen, however, as Hakes, West, Amusan and Kassidy Mackie all rode the bench at times with foul trouble in the second half. West and Mackie would eventually foul out in the final minutes.

"They (the Raiders) had good defense but I really, truly, think there were unforced turnovers that we can clean up," Kirchenwitz said. "Turnovers and offensive boards is what did it."

The Royals came into the game with five straight wins and six victories in their last seven games. Woodbury got off to a strong start defensively, and with star guard Rachel Hakes, the Royals hung with the Raiders offensively.

But turnovers and rebounding — especially in the second half — eventually killed Woodbury's chances to pull the upset.

Every time the Royals got close in the second, Cretin would respond with something to widen the gap again, often times an offensive rebound put back in for a basket, or a steal off a Woodbury miscue.

Next up for Woodbury is a non-conference game at Edina (10-5) on Tuesday.