Park girls basketball: Lamberty goes over 2,000 career points in win over Woodbury
Park’s Sydney Lamberty went to Woodbury High School hoping to leave with a win. She did — and took home a pretty big memento as well.
Lamberty, a senior guard, went over the 2,000 career-point mark in Park’s 66-33 victory over intra-district and Suburban East Conference rival Woodbury on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Woodbury.
Lamberty, Park’s all-time leading scorer, was awarded the game ball in honor of the milestone.
“It was pretty sweet,” Park head coach Stephanie Tolkinen said. “It would’ve been nice for her to get a Wolfpack ball, but she got a Woodbury ball instead. That’s probably the next-best thing, when you’ve been a rival all those years, to take one of their basketballs home and put it on your shelf for your 2,000th point — she’s probably OK with that.”
Lamberty, who has played on the Wolfpack varsity team since eighth grade, said she felt hitting 2,000 points meant even more to her than when she broke Park’s all-time scoring record earlier this year.
“The record was really cool, but this felt like more of a personal accomplishment,” said Lamberty, who will play Div. I basketball for Creighton next year. “It was awesome. It was really cool to experience that with all the girls. It was a fun night.”
Lamberty, who leads the conference in scoring at 22.5 points per game, scored a game-high 20 points in the victory.
“Getting the win over Woodbury was great – and it was a team win,” she said. “If we would’ve lost it wouldn’t have been the same. It was really fun. It wasn’t at home, but there were a lot of our fans there. The girls were really excited for me too, which meant a lot.”
Lamberty said she began thinking about the 2,000-point mark after she eclipsed 1,000 points as a sophomore.
“That’s a lot of points and quite an achievement,” Tolkinen said. “Granted she’s had five years of varsity basketball, but for anyone who has played varsity basketball 1,000 points is a huge milestone, let alone 2,000 points. She deserves everything she gets. It doesn’t just come naturally, she works hard.”
Lamberty has shot over 50 percent from the field for her high school career, along with shooting over 33 percent from behind the 3-point line and 71 percent from the free-throw line.
“She’s worked really hard every offseason on her shot and to become the player that she is,” Tolkinen said. “She’s definitely earned it. I don’t think she’s done yet.”
Park – which is 12-3 overall and in first place in the SEC with a perfect 8-0 record at the halfway point of the conference schedule - recently moved up to ninth in the Class AAAA state rankings. In the win over Woodbury (5-10; 2-7 SEC), the Wolfpack opened up a 37-15 halftime lead, then kept the Royals at bay with a 29-18 second half. In addition to Lamberty, Park senior Temi Ogunrinde scored 10 points and seniors Molly Swanson and Mikayla Jones each chipped in six points.
“We’ve been playing really well together,” Lamberty said. “A lot of the girls are stepping up, which is awesome. I think things are starting to click. The chemistry is really starting to come together.”
It was Park’s first win over Woodbury since Jan. 24, 2012. Woodbury upset Park twice last season. However, the Royals are currently riding a 9-game losing streak.
“Woodbury will always be a rival,” Tolkinen said. “It’s just one of those things if you can’t get up to play them, who can you get up for. There’s so much in that Woodbury name. Their program is a little down and they’re going through some struggles, but you can’t feel bad for them. We have a target on our back right now.”
Tolkinen said the Wolfpack’s defense stood out in the win.
“We really emphasized getting in the passing lanes, getting pressure on the ball, not giving them open shots and not letting them get to the rim too easily,” she said. “I think we did that for the most part. From our defense we were able to push the ball and were able to get a lot of points in transition. That’s our game, defense and pushing the ball. We were able to do that.”
Park also won 63-28 at Hastings on Friday, Jan. 24, for a sixth-straight win.
The game was all but over at halftime with Park up 37-13 on the Raiders (1-12; 0-9 SEC). Lamberty scored a team-high 15 points to lead 10 different scorers for the Wolfpack. In addition, junior guard Annie Williams scored 10 points and Swanson netted nine points.
“I think these kids are really starting to figure some things out,” Tolkinen said. “We have to come in every night to play and I think our kids did that for Woodbury and for Hastings.”
Park takes on East Ridge (10-3; 5-3 SEC) at home on Tuesday. Next, the Wolfpack welcomes Roseville (13-3; 5-3 SEC) to Cottage Grove on Friday. Park edged the Raiders 55-54 back in Roseville back in December.
“That was just a great high school girls basketball game. It was just fantastic,” Tolkinen said. “But, Roseville can’t afford to lose any more. They’ll want to really come in and establish themselves in this second half and get back into the race for the conference title. It’s going to be a grind.”