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Senior guard R.J. Veliz scores 23 to pace Bulldogs in league opening victory

PHIL HAWKINS - Woodburn senior R.J. Veliz scored a game-high 23 points, including 11 in the second quarter when the Bulldogs pulled ahead by double digits over Sweet Home.The Woodburn boys basketball team struck the first blow in what is sure to be an incredibly difficult run through the Oregon West Conference this season.

Heading into Friday night, the No. 4 Bulldogs and the No. 5 Sweet Home Huskies had the top two records in the Oregon West, and both teams were eager to get their league opener started with the right foot forward.

PHIL HAWKINS - Woodburn sophomore Jeovanny Marroquin drives toward the pain in the Bulldogs 61-47 victory over Sweet Home. And for the first quarter of play, Woodburn led 9-8 and it looked as if it would be anyone's game. But that's when the Bulldogs punched the gas pedal, going off for an 18-5 run that included 3-pointers from R.J. Veliz (twice), Kevin Cruz, Trevor Karsseboom and Tyson Doman.

Leading 33-18 at the half, Woodburn held Sweet Home at a double-digit length for much of the second half. The Huskies rallied to within 54-47 with less than three minutes left in the game, but a dagger 3-pointer from Karsseboom extended the lead back to 10 points. Veliz hit 1-of-2 free throws after being knocked to the floor on a layup attempt that was deemed a flagrant foul on Sweet Home, and the Bulldogs cruised to the 61-47 victory.

PHIL HAWKINS - Woodburn senior E.J. Barajas scored nine points for the Bulldogs against Sweet Home.Veliz led the team with 23 points, followed by 10 from Karsseboom and nine more from E.J. Barajas.

Woodburn (10-1, 1-0 Oregon West) was scheduled to travel to Corbett (6-6) for a non-league game on Tuesday before returning home for a league contest vs. Sisters (8-5, 1-0) on Friday. The Bulldogs wrap up their week on Saturday against No. 3 Marshfield (9-3) in a game that will be played at Southwest Oregon Community College.

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