Park's season ends with two-point heartbreak
APPLE VALLEY — This was a game that the underdog Park Wolfpack easily could have won.
With leading scorer and rebounder Charlie Gorres on the floor, odd are better than good the Wolfpack would have triumphed.
Instead, host and second-seeded Eastview managed to escape the visiting Wolfpack, winning 74-72 in a first-round Section 3AAAA game at Eastview Tuesday.
Eastview (11-16) advances to play sixth-seeded Burnsville in the section semifinals Friday at Farmington.
Seventh-seeded Park ended its season at 6-21.
Trailing by two in the final seconds, Park had a chance to either win with a three or tie with a two and send the game into overtime. But Park senior guard Cole Herder was tripped up as he drove to the basket and the Wolfpack fell just short.
"The way that they just played right there — I know that we lost the game — but at the end of the day I couldn't be more proud of the effort that they just showed out there," said Park coach Mike Weah.
"A couple things didn't go our way but I just thought that no matter what happened, if a call didn't go our way or anything, we just kept playing and we played hard," Weah added. "We talked about before this whole week, we just talked about giving ourselves at least an opportunity. Representing our community the right way and that's what they did tonight. They went out there and they represented the community as I told them. There's nobody — none of our fans — that can go out there and say that they are disappointed with the way we performed tonight."
The game was close from beginning to end and Park was competitive throughout. It was tied 31-all at the half.
Eastview took a 70-65 lead with a minute and a half to play, but Park closed to within a basket on a three by Junior guard Domenik Block. Park closed to 73-72 on a steal and score by AJ Morrison with 30 seconds left.
The Lightning made one of two free throws on the next possession, leaving an opening for the Wolfpack to win it with a three or tie with a two. But Park could connect on neither as the final seconds ticked away.
How different things might have been for the Wolfpack if star junior forward Gorres had been able to play Tuesday is a matter of speculation. But Gorres was averaging 20.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists when he went down with knee injuries.
Gorres missed the last eight games of the regular season, since exploding for 31 points against Stillwater back on Feb. 2.
Block led Park with 20 points Tuesday. Herder added 13, Blake Petschen 11, Jayden Lane 10 and Marshaun Campbell 10 apiece. All could return for the Wolfpack next season except for seniors Herder and Petschen.
Eastview was led by 6-8 sophomore Steven Crowl who scored 22 points. The Wolfpack simply didn't have anyone who could math up for him inside.