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Girls Basketball: Woodbury, New Life Academy, East Ridge reflect on the winter season

The girls basketball season has officially come to an end as every Woodbury and Cottage Grove high school team has been eliminated from its section tournament either Wednesday or Saturday of last week.

For every team, it's always sad to see a season come to an end. But it also means that a new season is coming with returners and incoming impact players for each team.

Woodbury

The Royals finished their season on Saturday with a 70-63 loss to Stillwater. Woodbury was trailing by 14 at the half, but had a strong second half to score 43 points. It wasn't enough though as the Ponies held onto the win.

Before Saturday's game, the Royals hosted Tartan on Wednesday in the quarterfinals and dominated the game with an 88-77 victory. It was an offensive game and every player contributed to the point total.

Woodbury will be graduating a few key players, but also have a handful of starters coming back to make another run next season. Solape Amusan, Katie Vaske and Lizzy Dodge are all seniors and will be graduating this upcoming year.

Head coach Megan Kirchenwitz will be looking to juniors Carley West and Alexandrya Paulson next season to be the leaders.

New Life Academy

The Eagles season came to an end on Saturday too with a 92-76 loss to No. 2 seed Concordia Academy-Roseville. Even though it was a large margin, head coach Greg Wilson said these last two section games were some of the best games these girls played all season.

The team shot 14 3-pointers in Saturday's game and scored 76 points, while on Wednesday they scored 70 points. There was some disappointment from the Eagles in receiving the No. 7 seed with 15 wins on the season and other teams above them didn't reach double-digit wins.

Wilson said the team played with some fire under them and had two strong games to close out the season.

New Life only has one senior graduating with Emmy Erickson and Wilson is excited about the future of this team. Juniors Carly Hager and McKayla Montgomery as well as sophomore Bethany Brocker will look to lead next year's team.

"This is probably the most fun season I've had," Wilson said. "These girls worked really hard this season and I'm excited about the next couple of years as we continue to grow."

East Ridge

The Raptors had the No. 6 seed in the tournament and had to face a tough White Bear Lake team. The Bears grabbed an early lead and never looked back with a 51-33 win on Wednesday night.

Even though it was an early exit for East Ridge, head coach Glen Wurm said he couldn't be more proud of the girls for their season. The Raptors improved this season from a record standpoint and a mentality standpoint.

Wurm said he saw growth every day whether at practice or at games and that makes him excited about the future of this program.

The Raptors will have only three seniors graduate this year with Chloe Stoehr, Ellie Swanson and Josie Dorf. East Ridge will have many returning starters on their team next season with experience and confidence to improve their record from this season.

The Raptors will be returning junior Madalyn Slavin, junior Ella Stegeman, freshman Britt Carlson and junior Kate Burns.

For Wurm, he's excited to have a combination of guards and forwards coming back to expand the court more next season.

"These seniors meant a lot to our program and they will be missed next season," Wurm said. "They laid a strong tradition and I'm looking forward to having all this experience back next season."

Brian Mozey

I am the sports writer for the Woodbury Bulletin and South Washington County Bulletin. I'm a graduate from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Iowa State University and have always had a passion for sports since a young age. Whether it was watching or playing sports, I always knew sports would be in my career. I've been born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis and look forward to continuing to learn more about the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area throughout my time in this position. 

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