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Girls' basketball: East Ridge rally falls just short

East Ridge's Ella Stegeman looks for some help as she chases down a loose ball in the second half against St. Paul Central Wednesday. The visiting Minutemen took a hard-fought 59-52 victory. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Senior forward Rebecca Swanson comes up with a loose ball and passes it off to an East Ridge teammate in the final minute of the Raptors game against St. Paul Central Wednesday. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

WOODBURY — Host East Ridge put a late-game scare into visiting St. Paul Central in a rare Wednesday evening game, only to fall 59-52.

The Raptors cut a 12-point second-half deficit down to five points with 36 seconds remaining, but could come no closer.

It was also East Ridge's first game without sophomore center and leading scorer Kate Burns, who will miss the rest of the season with a fractured bone in her foot. Burns has battled through the injury all season before the pain got to great to continue.

"Obviously with the seven-point difference I think she probably makes up the seven-point difference," said East Ridge head coach Glen Wurm. "So that's unfortunate. But I liked some of the other girls that came in off the bench and did a good job. I thought we had some good fight at the end and made some plays, made some things happen and put some pressure on them. Ultimately we just needed a little bit more."

St. Paul Central led 37-29 with eight and a half minutes to play when the Raptors slowly started chipping away at the lead. East Ridge closed to 57-52 with 35 seconds left. The Raptors then just missed a three-point attempt with 32 seconds remaining that would have made it a one-possession game.

"We came back," said Wurm. "When you do that, and you get that to a one- or two-possession game, then good things can happen.

Central came down and sank a pair of free throws for the final margin.

East Ridge remained winless on the season, falling to 0-21. Central improved to 10-11.

Junior forward Josie Dorf led the Raptors with 13 points. Madalyn Slavin and Ella Stegeman had eight each, and Chloe Stoehr seven.