Woodbury was well aware of Roseville's status entering Friday night's contest: Class 4A's No. 3-ranked boys' basketball team and undefeated against Minnesota schools.
The Royals respected their rival's success but shrugged it off, remembering what they did to the Raiders the last time they met. In a very similar result to that of last year's section championship game, host Woodbury rallied from a large deficit to upset Roseville 80-71.
"It was just like last year [in the section final]," Woodbury's Diallo Powell said after being mobbed by the student body rushing the court. "We couldn't lose doubt. We had to keep believing."
After trailing by 15 points with 14 minutes left in the game, Woodbury revived its effort with improved defense and quickly changed the momentum. Powell's belief paid off as he gave the Royals their first lead since the opening minutes of the game when he finished a steal with a breakaway layup and the 57-56 advantage. Minutes later, Powell did it again, tying the game 65-65, and Woodbury never would trail again.
The Royals (11-3) finished out the game on a 15-6 run that left Roseville (12-2) stunned and with its first loss to a Minnesota team. The Raiders lost to Valley (West Des Moines, Iowa) in the Timberwolves Shootout, also a close game that they let get out of hand in the final minutes.
For about 30 minutes, Roseville looked like a team that could be Class 4A's No. 1. "I think we just got comfortable and faded," Roseville big man Jordan Burich said. "We had fight to the end, but we couldn't make a bucket."
Burich was part of the Raiders' underscoring, contributing just 10 points after spending nearly 15 minutes on the bench with foul trouble. Roseville had averaged nearly nine more points per game, it but couldn't find the net in the second half, even from under the basket.
Mack Johnson led Roseville with 24 points and surpassed 1,000 points for his career but didn't flinch at the recognition, saying, "I'd take zero points if we got the win."
Four Royals scored double figures: Renard Suggs had 22 points, Mario Franco 21, Matt Ambriz 14 and Rob Claypool 13.
"Everybody's energy picked up," Franco said. "And we played as a team in the second half."