The Woodburn boys basketball team made an emphatic statement last week, taking down two top-10 teams in a home-and-road split while opening the Oregon West Conference schedule 1-0.
The Bulldogs upset the 5A No. 1 South Albany Redhawks 56-50 on Tuesday, Jan. 7, and followed with a 62-58 victory over No. 6 Sweet Home on Friday to bump up to the No. 4 spot in the most recent OSAA rankings.
The game came on the heels of their third loss of the season to league-rival Stayton in the championship game of the SCTC Holiday Classic. The Bulldogs had a difficult test against the top-ranked Redhawks, who had won eight straight games to open the season coming into Woodburn.
A strong start from senior Reese Miller helped give Woodburn an early edge. An equally impressive finish from Tomas Veliz and Jeovanny Marroquin allowed the Bulldogs to rally from a second-half deficit and pull away for the six-point victory, handing South Albany its first loss of the season.
Marroquin finished with a team-high 18 points and eight rebounds, doing much of his work in the second half. Down 37-35 entering the final period, Marroquin led the Bulldogs on a 16-6 run during the quarter, putting the team up 51-43 with just over a minute to play.
The team teams had entered the second half tied at 19-19, but the Redhawks opened the third on a tear, taking 29-23 lead halfway through the third period. Veliz responded with a 3-pointer from the left side of the key to cut it to 29-26.
South Albany answered back with a 5-0 run, but Veliz slowly chipped away, driving to the basket to generate free throws that helped the Bulldogs cut their deficit to two points entering the final period.
Veliz finished with 11 points, while Miller was second on the team with 12, scoring seven of the Bulldogs' first nine points.
Woodburn had no letdown three nights later, traveling to Sweet Home to take on a Husky team that was 9-2 and ranked in the top five coming into the contest.
The two teams traded short runs throughout the contest before Woodburn went on a late run in the third quarter to take a 44-35 advantage.
The Huskies rallied to take a 52-50 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs finished with a 12-6 run to finish the game with the victory.
No. 4 Woodburn (8-3, 1-0 Oregon West) was scheduled to host Corbett (6-5)on Monday in their final non-conference game of the regular season. The Bulldogs return to league play on Friday with a trip to Sisters to face the hosting Outlaws (2-10).
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