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Park senior Sydney Lamberty goes up for a basket in the Wolfpack’s win over Apple Valley on Friday. Lamberty had a game-high 27 points in the win. (Submitted photo by Scott Briggs)

Park girls basketball: Wolfpack split first two games of season

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The Park girls basketball team tipped off the season against a pair of familiar foes.

The Wolfpack split its first two games of the year – falling to Eastview 40-31 on the road and beating Apple Valley 71-58 at home. Eastview and Apple Valley are two of the best teams in Park’s section, Section 4AAAA. In all, Park’s first four games are against the top teams in Section 4AAAA.

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Eastview has stood in Park’s way of the state tournament the past two seasons. The Lightning tipped the Wolfpack in the section championship the past two years. Led by juniors Madison Guebert and Hana Metoxen, Eastview is ranked as high as No. 2 in the state this year by publications.

Park traveled to Eastview to open the season on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Despite being up 10-0 to start the game and 18-15 at the half, Park couldn’t hold on as Eastview (4-0) chipped away at the lead and outscored the Wolfpack 25-13 in the second half to earn the win.

“We got off to a good start,” Park head coach Stephanie Tolkinen said. “I think our defense was very strong and we were able to disrupt any flow Eastview wanted to get into. On our offensive side, we struggled. We needed to finish around the rim when we had the opportunities and we needed a few more girls to look to score. It was a close game the whole night. We just got out of sorts midway through the second half. Foul trouble and turnovers hurt us.”

For Park, Sydney Lamberty scored a team-high 19 points in the loss.

After Eastview, Park rebounded with a home-opening win over Apple Valley (0-3) on Friday, Dec. 6, and pulled off a 13-point win.

“I am most happy with the improvement our girls showed from Tuesday to Friday night,” Tolkinen said. “I was glad how our girls bounced back from not only the loss, but the low scoring output from Tuesday night against Eastview.”

Park went up 41-25 at the half and cruised for its first win of the year.

“We spent a lot of time breaking down our offense and working on the little things needed for better execution,” Tolkinen said. “I thought we came out a little excited and went a little quicker than I really cared for, but once the girls settled in they did a really nice job moving the ball and moving people which led to many open looks for many of the girls.”

Lamberty led all scorers with 27 points and crept to within 10 points of breaking Park’s all-time career scoring record. Temi Ogunrinde, Annie Williams and Molly Swanson added nine points each. Also, Ally Gorres and Amber Fabeck each chipped in six points.

“It is nice to see so many players scoring,” Tolkinen said. “That is what we need every night to be successful. The girls are really playing together right now and looking for their opportunities to pitch in.”

In addition Ogunrinde and Lamberty each had 10 rebounds and Lamberty and Annie Williams each had five steals to lead the defense.

Tolkinen said she believed the difference in the game was transition. Park had 20 transition points compared to Apple Valley’s six.

“We got out and ran every chance we had,” Tolkinen said.

Park played host to Rosemount (0-1) on Dec. 10 at home, after the Bulletin went to print. Next, the Wolfpack travels to Eagan (0-1) on Dec. 12.

—Patrick Johnson

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Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
(651) 319-4505
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