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Bulldogs advance to state quarterfinal tournament for the first time since 2011

Looking to win its first post season game since 2011, the No. 4 Woodburn boys basketball team took care of business at home on Friday, defeating the Mazama Vikings 53-26 in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.

COURTESY: RICK VASQUEZ - Woodburn senior R.J. Veliz led the Bulldogs with 17 points in the teams 53-26 victory over Mazama on Friday.The Bulldogs (21-4, 10-2 Oregon West Conference) showed no ill effects from the team's extended break. Woodburn last played on Feb. 19, and after 10 days off, came out of the gates at full speed against a Vikings team (12-11, 7-3 Skyline Conference) that looked unequipped to handle the Bulldogs' speed and defensive tenacity.

From the opening possession, where Woodburn pulled down three offensive rebounds before connecting on its first bucket from Trevor Karsseboom, the Bulldogs controlled the game.

Led by a 9-0 run from seniors Karsseboom, R.J. Veliz and Tyson Doman, Woodburn raced out to a 15-2 advantage in the opening quarter, nearly all of which came off of turnovers or on second-chance opportunities.

After taking a 17-6 first quarter lead, the Bulldogs offense slowed down in the second quarter, but the team's defense responded in-kind. Woodburn allowed just two points to Mazama in the period, holding the Vikings scoreless for seven straight minutes.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs continued to creep away with five quick points to open the quarter from Veliz and Ryan Stebner, followed by a late 3-pointer from Diego Torres to head into the halftime break up 27-8.

It was the best defensive half of basketball the Bulldogs have played this season, and while the second half was slightly more even — with Woodburn outscoring the Vikings 26-18 over the final two quarters of play — the final score doubled as both the lowest points allowed this season for the Bulldogs and the lowest points scored by the Vikings.

COURTESY: RICK VASQUEZ - Woodburn senior Diego Torres pulls up from 3-point range in the teams first-round win over Mazama, which put the Bulldogs back in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011. Veliz finished the contest with a game-high 17 points, followed by 10 from Doman as the only other Woodburn player to reach double figures.

The victory snapped a string of three consecutive post season losses in a row for the Bulldogs, who have been ousted in the play-in round in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The win also marks the program's first trip back to the quarterfinal tournament since 2011, when the Bulldogs went 0-2 and finished outside the top six placing teams.

This year's team enters the elite eight on a hot streak, having won eight of its past nine games. Woodburn opens the tournament Thursday against the No. 5 Marshfield Pirates (21-5,9-1 Sky-Em) in a rematch from an earlier pre-season game.

The two teams met on Jan. 12 at Southwestern Oregon Community College, where the Pirates handed the Bulldogs a 58-45 loss.


Next up

Woodburn and Marshfield are slated to square off at 3:15 p.m. at Pacific University.

The winner will advance to the state semifinals on Friday at Forest Grove High School.

To follow the results of the 2019 4A Boys Basketball State Quarterfinals, go to:

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