Park girls basketball: Wolfpack bounces section foes Sibley, RosemountThe Park girls basketball team made a statement in Section 3AA last week.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
The Park girls basketball team made a statement in Section 3AA last week.
The Wolfpack improved to 4-1 against Section 3AA opponents this season beating Henry Sibley 59-42 on Tuesday, Dec. 20 and Rosemount 73-43 on Thursday, Dec. 22, in its last two games – both played at Park High School. Park is now 7-2 overall this season and 3-0 in the Suburban East Conference.
With previous wins over East Ridge and Apple Valley and a loss to Eastview, Park improved on its 2-1 record against section foes. Without Lakeville North in Section 3AA, Park is hoping for a high seed in the section tournament this year.
In its lopsided win over Rosemount (4-4), Park outscored the Irish 35-11 in the second half, building on a 38-32 halftime lead.
“We talked about a couple of defensive adjustments to make to not allow the penetration,” Park head coach Stephanie Tolkinen said. “Once we took the floor in the second half, things seemed to go in the right direction for us. Rosemount was unable to make a field goal until later in the second half and we were having a lot of success on our offensive end. I thought our defense and rebounding really stepped up and that fueled our offense. We jumped on them early and didn’t let up. I think this was one of our best overall performances to this point.”
Park guards Larissa Lurken and Sydney Lamberty put on a show in the win.
Lurken, a junior, scored a game-high 27 points and Lamberty, a sophomore, netted 21 points, outscoring the Irish on their own. Additionally, senior Rachel Kothe and sophomore Temi Ogunrinde each netted six points.
Prior to beating Rosemount, Park handled Henry Sibley, taking a 30-20 halftime lead and hanging on for the win, outscoring the Warriors (1-7) 29-22 in the second half.
“We played well enough to win against Sibley, even though we weren’t at our best,” Tolkinen said. “Sibley came in and played extremely hard and well. I thought it was a hard fought game all the way to the end. Sibley is a much better team than their record indicates. They will be a tough opponent for anyone come playoffs.”
Lamberty scored a game-high 19 points in the first half, with Lurken netting 17 points. Junior forward Courtney Waldo chipped in six points as well.
On the year, Lamberty leads Park in scoring at 19.9 points per game, followed by Lurken at 19.1 points per game. Park senior post player Jenna Joswiak is third at 6.0 points per game.
Next, Park will play a pair of games at the South St. Paul tournament on Dec. 27 and 28. The Wolfpack are the defending champions of the tourney.
Following the holidays, Park gets back into conference play with a home game against Hastings on Tuesday, Jan. 3.