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A two-minute flurry at the end of the first half was the difference Feb. 7 as the Woodridge boys basketball team turned a tight game into a 12-point halftime lead en route to a 61-46 victory at non-conference foe Aurora.
Four nights earlier, on Feb. 3, the Bulldogs suffered their first defeat of the season as they fell 61-55 to visiting Coventry. With the win, the Comets pulled to within a game of first-place Woodridge in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division.
Woodridge carried an 18-1 overall record and an 11-1 PTC Metro Division mark into a game Feb. 10 at division rival Norton, but the result was not available at press time.
In the win over Aurora, Woodridge led 12-11 after the first quarter, 29-17 at the half and 43-33 after three quarters.
The Greenmen put up a good fight but were unable to get any closer than 10 points in the second half.
"We did a pretty good job of controlling the pace and dictating what we wanted to do offensively, and we were able to get out of there with a win," said Bulldogs head coach Ric Blevins.
Junior guard Mason Lydic led the way for Woodridge with 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
"Mason played really well," Blevins said. "He struggled a little bit in the first half scoring the basketball, but at the end of the second quarter he made a couple of really big defensive plays."
Senior forward Marlon King scored 10 points. Sophomore point guard D.J. Snyder and senior guard Preston Clark each scored 9 points. Clark had a 3-pointer.
Senior center Aaron Jones had 8 points and a team-leading 9 rebounds. Senior point guard Sharif Howard had 6 points.
"We got good contributions all-around," said Blevins. "Marlon played a fantastic game, Aaron played well, and I thought our guards did a good job. Sharif did a nice job in the second half."
In the loss to Coventry, Woodridge trailed 14-12 after the first quarter and 31-24 at the intermission. The Bulldogs came out on fire in the third quarter, forged ahead and were in the lead 44-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
"Marlon made some big baskets. I thought defensively we were pretty good," the coach said.
The fourth quarter belonged to Coventry, however.
"We made some poor decisions offensively, turned the ball over a few times and just couldn't hit a big shot down the stretch, which is something we'd been able to do in some tight games this season," said Blevins. "We just couldn't get back over the hump once we lost the lead."
Lydic scored a team-high 15 points, including three 3-pointers. King scored 12 points and had a team-high 13 rebounds.
Jones scored 10 points. Senior point guard Zach Nelsen had 6 points on a pair of 3-pointers and Clark had 5 points, including one 3-pointer.
Blevins is hoping that the stinging defeat will help his team recharge.
"We need to push ahead to the end of the regular season and start getting ready for the tournament," he said.
Woodridge is scheduled to play at Springfield, another division foe, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m.