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Park girls basketball: Wolfpack win two more, still in hunt for conference title

The Park girls basketball team kept rolling with a pair of Suburban East Conference wins — and stayed in the hunt for the SEC championship crown.

Park (17-6; 13-3 SEC) beat Stillwater 43-31 on the road on Tuesday, Feb. 18, then braved the elements on Friday, Feb. 21, winning 55-42 at Forest Lake.

The game against Forest Lake was originally cancelled because of weather and road conditions, but was called back on again around noon.

“It was a pretty crazy day with the storm and then the changing of decisions about the game,” Park head coach Stephanie Tolkinen said. “The ride up to Forest Lake was very slow and long as well. I was very happy with how the girls handled themselves throughout the day. Every girl was ready to play.”

Park, which moved up to fifth in the most recent Class AAAA state rankings, held Forest Lake (18-6; 13-3 SEC) to just 15 first-half points, while scoring 26 then held on for the 13-point win.

“Our defense set the tone right away,” Tolkinen said. “We made a couple of stops and went down and scored off the Forest Lake turnovers. It was a fun game to coach. You could sense that every girl was all-in. Every player gave such a great effort to make this win possible. I am really proud of the way our kids kept focus and played two solid halves of basketball.”

Park senior guard Sydney Lamberty led the way for the Wolfpack, scoring a game-high 28 points to go along with two rebounds and three steals. Lamberty was recently picked to play in the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game in April.

Also, Park junior point guard Carlie Williams scored 10 points and had six assists as well.

Against Stillwater (8-16; 4-12 SEC), Park took a 24-18 lead at the half, then outscored the Ponies 19-13 in the second half in the 13-point win.

“After about the first two minutes into the game, Stillwater threw some junk defense at us,” Tolkinen said. “I thought the girls responded pretty well. We have been playing against this quite a bit this season and the girls are getting used to it.”

Lamberty had 12 points and eight rebounds and senior guard Molly Swanson had 10 points, two steals and two rebounds. In addition, senior forward Temi Ogunrinde had seven rebounds, two steals and two points and junior guard Annie Williams had four steals, three assists and two points.

Park is nearing the playoffs.

The Wolfpack played host to Woodbury (6-18; 2-14 SEC) on Tuesday, Feb. 25, after the Bulletin went to print. Park finishes the regular season on Friday, Feb. 28, at home against Hastings (2-20; 1-15 SEC).

“We are still in the hunt for at least a tie for the conference championship,” Tolkinen said. “We have to take care of our business this week first of all. White Bear Lake is in first place right now. They play Forest Lake on Tuesday and Roseville on Friday. We will have to see how things play out.”

—Patrick Johnson

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.
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