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Girls' Basketball: Wolfpack improves streak to three games

The Park girls' basketball team has gotten back on the winning track over its past three games after enduring a string of close losses.

The Wolfpack held off a charging Hastings team for a 49-48 victory on the road Feb. 7, in their only game last week. It was Park's third win in a row after losing six straight games, four of which were by four points or less.

Park started slowly in the road game, as it trailed the Raiders 27-14 at halftime. Head coach Stephanie Tolkinen said the Wolfpack struggled to attack Hasting's zone defense in the first half.

But they regrouped in the second half, eventually going on a 22-0 run to take the lead. Park needed to knock down free throws at the end to hold on for the one-point victory.

"We came out and played a little more of our style of basketball," Tolkinen said. "It started with our defense being a lot more aggressive, pushing the ball a little bit more. Not letting Hastings do everything they wanted to do."

She said the Wolfpack's improved second-half defense transitioned into better ball movement on offense to generate quality shot attempts.

Taylor Johnson led Park with 16 points, and Molly Wenner finished with 12.

Park has a compact schedule heading into this week with a home game Tuesday against Woodbury and road games Wednesday against Mounds View and East Ridge on Friday. The Mounds View game is a weather makeup from Dec. 16.

Park is looking forward to games on the schedule against two of the top teams in the Suburban East Conference. East Ridge and Roseville each have three losses in conference play this season, tied for first along with White Bear Lake. With Friday's scheduled game against East Ridge and an upcoming home contest Feb. 21, against Roseville, the Wolfpack have an opportunity to be a factor in the final SEC standings and gain some momentum for the section playoffs.

"We can play spoiler if we do anything, and then we want to be looking good and looking better as we go into sections and our seeding meetings," Tolkinen said.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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