Park girls basketball: Wolfpack can’t dig out of hole, falls to No. 5 Roseville 48-40The Park girls basketball team rolled into Roseville last Tuesday with the hopes of upsetting the Suburban East Conference-leading and No. 5-ranked Raiders. However, a 27-8 halftime deficit hurt, and despite a noble comeback, the Wolfpack fell 48-40.
By: Patrick Johnson, sports editor, South Washington County Bulletin
The Park girls basketball team rolled into Roseville last Tuesday with the hopes of upsetting the Suburban East Conference-leading and No. 5-ranked Raiders. However, a 27-8 halftime deficit hurt, and despite a noble comeback, the Wolfpack fell 48-40.
In the first half, Park was having trouble getting the ball in the basket. To add to it, the Wolfpack was turning the ball over and wasn’t getting many defensive stops. In the early part of the second half, Park found itself down by 22 points to the Raiders.
“We talked about settling down and do a better job not rushing so much on offense,” Park head coach Stephanie Tolkinen said. “We also needed to make some changes in our defensive attack. The girls did not pack it in. They came out and put up a great fight.”
In the second half, Park mounted a comeback and got the game within two points. Roseville wouldn’t let up its lead, though. The Raiders were able to knock down a few key shots as Park failed to respond on the other end. The Wolfpack ended up outscoring Roseville 32-21 in the second half.
“We were able to create some turnovers against Roseville and score some points in transition,” Tolkinen said. “The girls were much more explosive rebounding and in their aggressiveness on defense. I think by changing up our defense we were able to keep them off balance a little bit.”
Park junior Sydney Lamberty led the way for the Wolfpack with a game-high 21 points and senior guard Larissa Lurken also had nine points. Aside from that, the rest of the Park team combined for just 10 points. Eight different players scored for Roseville in its win. Senior guard Jacqlyn Poss led the way with 12 points.
Tolkinen said Roseville “is a very good team.”
“They didn’t lose anyone from last year’s team and have been very sharp this season,” Tolkinen said. “I think the girls learned a lot from that game. We need to come out and play two complete halves. When we can do that I believe our team is capable of beating Roseville and almost anyone.”
Park carried its momentum from the second half of the Roseville loss into St. Paul in its game against Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday. The Wolfpack opened up an insurmountable 41-13 lead on the Raiders and coasted to the win.
“After two days of very good practices and preparation for this game, our girls came out very focused and purposeful,” Tolkinen said. “Our defensive pressure started right away and it gave us some transition opportunities. What we did not do on Tuesday night on offense, we were able to do in this game. The girls were more intentional about setting and using screens, moving the ball and taking quality shots. The rebounding was fantastic. Girls were getting a box out almost every time. That helped us a lot to get us going early.”
Eight different players scored for Park in the win. Lamberty led the way once again with 22 points, while Lurken netted 16 points.
“This game was very good for us to build some confidence in our team,” Tolkinen said. “The girls played very well together. We were able to get some of the other girls into the game and see who was ready to play at the varsity level. Beating Cretin by 18 was a good statement.”
Park has two big games at home this week. On Tuesday, the Wolfpack took on Mounds View, after the Bulletin went to press. Next, Park plays host to White Bear Lake at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18. It’ll be Park’s Family Appreciation Night and family members will be honored prior to the warm-ups of the varsity game.