It’s a game where Woodbury and East Ridge players circle on their calendar and anticipate the moment. On Thursday night, that moment came as the two boys’ basketball teams met at East Ridge for the first matchup of the season.

For East Ridge head coach Josh Peltier, it’s his first time experiencing this in-town rivalry game.

It was a memorable night for him and the Raptors as East Ridge was able to earn the 58-53 victory over Woodbury.

“There’s nothing better than a fun rivalry game within the community,” Peltier said. “It was great to see the bleachers packed with students and fans because it made this night even more special for these players on both teams.”

The Raptors have had the momentum as they have won the past three regular season games against the Royals. That confidence showed in the early part of the game as East Ridge took an early lead.

It was a double-digit lead for the Raptors in the majority of the first half, but the Royals came back to make it a 29-21 score in favor of East Ridge at the half.

That lead slowly dwindled at the beginning of the beginning of the second half as Woodbury went on a 12-4 run to tie the game at 33.

“We knew we were in the game and just needed to continue fighting for the second half,” said Joe Frommelt. “That was a great way to start the second half and put the momentum on our side.”

When the crowd thought the Royals took control, the Raptors came out firing to claim the lead again and never look back. The two rival teams kept the score close and part of that was due to a low percentage in free throws for East Ridge.

Towards the end of the game, the Royals kept fouling the Raptors to try and keep it close. East Ridge allowed that score to continue staying within four and six points with either going 1-for-2 or 0-for-2 on each trip to the line.

For Peltier, he’s not worried about that statistic for the future.

“I’m confident in our players to convert on free throws,” Peltier said. “We are just focused on playing our best basketball as he get closer to the end of the season. These players have grown into a great team and I’m excited to see what they are able to do at practice tomorrow and the upcoming game.”

Even though the Royals lost a close game on Thursday, head coach Kent Getzlaff was happy with how this team worked together and continued fighting until the end of the game. He’s been able to see a lot of growth from the players and Getzlaff is confident in the second half of the season for these Royals.

The Royals had a couple players reach double digits for points as Parker McMorrow led the team with 17 points. Bradley Cimperman finished the night with 10 points.

Devin Padelford scored eight points, while Blake Rohrer and Mac Lockner each finished with six points.

On East Ridge’s side, Ben Carlson led the team with 25 points. Kendall Blue and Brody Kriesel each had strong games with 12 and 11 points respectively. Carlson also led the Raptors with 13 rebounds.

“We’ve grown so much as a team over the season and now I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do the rest of the season,” Getzlaff said. “These players leave everything on the court and I can’t be more proud of what they’ve done this season.”

Woodbury and East Ridge will have a second half of the regular season as they wrap up the first half in the next couple of weeks. Both are focused on each game and playing their best basketball in line of the section tournament.