Woodbury players and coaches exited the court at East Ridge after Friday’s game in a giddy mood, high-fiving and cheering. Meanwhile, the East Ridge coaching staff stood in a circle near the team bench, lamenting the final seconds of the game.
It would’ve been hard to imagine that’s how the two teams would feel following the game after things had been going just minutes earlier.
The Raptors had erased a 12-point deficit against Suburban East Conference rival Woodbury and pulled ahead in the game’s final minutes. With just seconds left, however, Royals senior guard Bradley Cimperman dropped a three-pointer to put Woodbury ahead 48-47, setting up a 50-47 Woodbury victory to extend the team’s winning streak to seven games.
The game itself played out in a similar manner to the teams' first meeting on Feb. 9. Woodbury (8-3) held a double-digit lead after the first half. Then, East Ridge closed the gap before the Royals emerged with a 64-62 win.
One difference from the first game was the absence of scoring from Cimperman. He poured in 14 points in the first meeting but didn’t score in the first half of Friday’s game. Prior to the last-second three-pointer, he had just three points and had made just one shot.
Despite the low-scoring night, Woodbury coach Kent Getzlaff knew the ball was going to Cimperman, who entered the matchup averaging 12 points per game. That’s second best on the team behind senior guard Devin Padelford, who had six points Friday and averaged 12.3 points per game prior to the victory.
Woodbury took an eight-point lead into halftime at East Ridge on Friday, and just like in the teams’ first meeting on Feb. 9, the Royals eked out a victory. This time, Woodbury held off a rally from the Raptors in the second half and got a three-pointer in the game’s waning seconds from senior guard Bradley Cimperman to win 50-47.
The Royals (8-3) took a 25-17 lead into halftime, despite not scoring for nearly seven minutes to open the game. Woodbury got the scoring going, thanks to senior guard Mac Lockner who was a key catalyst throughout the night with 16 points, including 11 in the first half.
Senior forward Donald West was the other Royal in double figures, tallying 14 points, including a pair of free throws late to help cement the Woodbury win.
The Raptors’ Kendall Blue had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds, and fellow senior Ben North tallied 10 points. Senior post Rodrick Payne also was big on the glass with a nine-point, 15-rebound performance.
But despite the effort and rally from East Ridge (5-5) in the second half, which included the Raptors erasing their halftime deficit to take the lead, it wasn’t enough to end its losing streak as Cimperman made just his second basket of the game to put Woodbury ahead for good, giving the Royals their seventh consecutive win.
The MN Basketball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.