By Jeremy McDonald
WOODBURN, Ore.– The Woodburn Bulldogs Boys basketball team ended one of those historic-feeling seasons the way they hoped. Closing out a regular season that saw the squad win their first league title since 2008 and capped a 16-2 Mid-Willamette Conference league season 16-2. Pulling away from Central late in their 53-47 win with the playoffs right around the corner.
This moment, as they’re cutting down the net on their home court following Tuesday’s win, feels amazing knowing the doubts there were in their transition back to 5A from 4A. But Wooburn knows too that it’s just part of the ultimate goal of trying to bring home a State Championship for the school at the end of the day.
“It honestly feels amazing. I think everyone doubted us at the start of the season….no one would figure that we’ll be here at this moment right now. So I think a lot of it is us believing in each other, believing in the guys and the work we’ve put in during the offseason. It shows right now at this moment. Everyone feels it, you see it right now, everyone’s emotional for the moment that we’re celebrating. Four games left to win a State Title, that’s something we’ve been working on since Day 1 and it’s all coming together now. You’re seeing the pieces coming together now so it’s a great feeling,” the Bulldogs Spencer Karsseboom said. ” This win was a big win for us…especially going into Saturday, you don’t want to come off a loss and go into a big game like that. So this gives us a lot of confidence going into this Saturday,”
And Tuesday’s game, for both Woodburn and the Panthers, served as a good warm-up for the postseason push. Central is currently sitting in third-place with West Albany to still play their final game of the season, has one of the automatic bids out of the conference locked up as they rallied from 17-11 down going into the second quarter.into a tied ball-game going into the fourth quarter at 38 apiece. It wasn’t until a five-point swing by Cruz Veliz, off a three-pointer and a driving lay-in, that gave the Bulldogs that final push for victory.
“Woodburn’s a good team for sure. We came out and competed with them very well, it was a close game, they came out with the win but it’s definitely going to help us in the playoffs,” Central’s Chase Nelson said. “The teams in our league, there’s a lot of even playing, there’s really not any bad teams. We competed against some of the best and won some and lost some, but we’re ready to go for the playoffs.”
Nelson led the Panthers with 14 points in Central’s (15-9, 12-6 MWC) season finale with Dom Castanon contributing another seven in the game. Karsseboom scored 14 points for the Bulldogs with Veliz leading the squad with 16 points in the victory.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald