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Game of the Week: East Ridge vs. Woodbury boys basketball


Who: East Ridge vs. Woodbury boys basketball

Where: East Ridge High School

When: Friday, Dec. 21, 7:15 p.m.

Get your popcorn ready!

The regular-season basketball game of the year in south Washington County takes place tonight when both Woodbury-based rival high schools East Ridge and Woodbury tip off at East Ridge High School.

These two Suburban East Conference teams know each other well.

In addition to many of the players on each teams growing up playing together and against each other in the Woodbury Athletic Association, East Ridge head coach Paul Virgin was an assistant for Woodbury under the Royals current head coach Scott Swansson, who is the reigning basketball Coach of the Year in Minnesota.

The two teams split their two head-to-head games last year and are tied 3-3 overall in their short history.

In their most-recent game, also held at East Ridge, the Raptors won 70-69 behind 2012 graduate Justin Pahl's 29 points, handing Woodbury one of only five losses on the year.

Despite graduating a number of key players in the offseason, both teams are playing extremely well so far this winter.

Woodbury is 4-1 and coming off wins over Edina, which was ranked No. 2 at the time, Rosemount and perennial SEC power Cretin-Derham Hall, respectively. East Ridge is 5-1 after an impressive win at White Bear Lake on Tuesday to open SEC play.

East Ridge has guys that can make plays all over the court. The Raptors' backcourt is led by a pair of underclassmen - sophomore Sid Tomes, who leads the team in scoring at 14 points per game, and junior Jake Knupp, who scores 12.3 points per game. On the wing, Brian Ishola is a handful, averaging 13.2 points per game, which is second on the team. Up front, East Ridge has a pair of tall big men. Senior Conrad Sexe, a 6-foot, 7-inch center scores 12 points per game and junior 6-foot, 9-inch center Ryan Keenan averages 6 points per game.

The Royals are led by senior guard Renard Suggs, the team's leading scorer at 21.6 points per game, along with 6 rebounds and 2.8 assists. However, he's far from the only weapon Woodbury has. Senior Diallo Powell has taken his game to the next level this season, averaging 15.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. In addition, Mario Franco leads the team in rebounding at 6.6 points per game to go along with 9 points per game and Rob Claypool leads Woodbury in assists at 3.4 per game to go along with 10.8 points per game.

It'll be standing-room only at 'The Perch,' tonight, so you better get there early if you want a spot to sit.