Aurora — Woodburn entered Wednesday’s rivalry game with North Marion with a chip on their shoulder, with some players feeling disrespected and underestimated by the 4A Preseason Coaches Rankings, which inserted the Bulldogs at #10 in the state to open the season. With the added motivation, Woodburn came to Aurora looking to make a statement and prove the 4A coaches wrong, which didn’t come easy nor simple against North Marion.
Both teams opened the game in a tight battle, with Woodburn leading 6-2 in the early going before North Marion took a 9-6. Over the course of the opening quarter, Woodburn turned the ball over on consecutive possessions several times, allowing the Huskies to take advantage and lead 20-11 after one quarter. Both teams did find themselves in deep foul trouble in the first quarter, as the Huskies and Bulldogs entered the second quarter with eight team fouls apiece.
Turnovers and reckless fouls plagued Woodburn in the second quarter, as the Bulldogs struggled to find momentum to catch up. North Marion took advantage and held on with leads of 26-17 and 34-26 throughout the quarter, but Woodburn would make a late run with a couple of clutch treys to cut the halftime deficit to 35-29 against the Huskies.
Early third quarter turnovers and rebounding troubles led to North Marion opening back up a 45-37 lead before Woodburn went on a 5-0 run to cut it to 45-42. The teams were practically inseparable for the rest of the third, with North Marion hanging tight 52-48 after three quarters of play as both teams started to dig out of foul trouble and turnovers that plagued them in the first half.
The fourth quarter might as well be described as night and day to the rest of the game, as Woodburn found rhythm after North Marion held tight to open the quarter, forcing turnovers and getting offensive boards to take the lead 57-56 midway through the fourth. Leading 59-58, Jonathan Marroquin missed a layup that was turned into a North Marion fast break and a kick out trey to Brady Hansen to retake the lead 61-59. On the subsequent possession, David Cherimnov drilled a response three to put Woodburn back in the lead 62-61 with 3:22 left in the game. Jose Lua would extend the Bulldogs lead to 64-61 on a missed North Marion layup, and after another missed shot, Jordan Blem hit a trey to make it 67-61 and Woodburn never looked back winning it 73-66 in comeback fashion on the road.
With a season opening victory secured, the junior brother duo of Jonathan and Jeovanny Marroquin talked about the second half turnaround and sending a statement to 4A.
Jonathan Marroquin on Woodburn having a chip on their shoulder, “We were always good. I was just kind of speechless, we worked hard all summer and we knew our season opener was going to be here. We were just getting ready and we’ve got to stay together, stay connected, and be together every day.”
Jeovanny Marroquin on the second half turnaround, “We just had to stop fouling, we had too many fouls. We had a lot of turnovers, we just slowed the game down and that’s how we play as a team. We knew we had to come out harder, they beat us here last year, and we knew we had to come out stronger, be more physical than them, and that’s how we won.”
#10 Woodburn (1-0) visits Molalla next Wednesday, #7 North Marion (0-1) goes to Marshfield on Friday.