Park drops conference matchup

Chaska claims Metro West lead in 77-70 win over Orioles


Mira Swartz

Sophomore Joey Whitlock, #22, prepares to receive the basketball from a teammate in the Jan. 23 conference matchup against Chaska. Park lost 77-70.

Ethan Brown

Junior Josiah Morrow walked off the court as the buzzer rang, disappointed with Park’s second half performance in the team’s 77-70 loss against Chaska.

Park led 44-34 going into the half, although Morrow, who scored five points according to Star Tribune, said the team’s defense must be stronger to hold its lead in the second half.

“In order to come out of the half strong, we have to play
better defense and box them out,” Morrow said. “If we stay together, stay mellow and stay disciplined, we can win that game.”

Head coach David Breitenbucher said Park needs to center its focus on defensive efforts, citing a weak defense during the second half.

“We have to play better defense, it’s pretty simple,” Breitenbucher said. “You can’t give up 43 points to Chaska, or anyone, and expect to win. That’s what we gave up in the second half — we weren’t doing it defensively.”

Junior Erik Anderson said he thinks weak defense late in the second half caused Park’s defeat at home.

“We really have to get stops next time,” Anderson said. “Late in the game we couldn’t stop them and that’s why we lost the game.”

Anderson said the team needs to show more intensity in the beginning of the second half if it wants to win closely-scored games.

“We have to come out of the half with much more energy,” Anderson said. “They came out with a swagger to them and we didn’t have that.”

According to Morrow, a lack of offensive presence close to the basket made it harder to outscore Chaska.

“We have to drive the basket a lot more than tonight,” Morrow said. “They outshot us and we should have taken it to the rim a lot more.”

Breitenbucher said he praises sophomore Joey Whitlock, who scored 12 points off the bench, and looks forward to Whitlock’s future with the team.

“Joey’s a good player, he can always shoot the basketball. He’s just going to learn with time,” Breitenbucher said. “Give Joey time and he’s going to be a hell of a basketball player. He just has to do the little things better.”

The Orioles hit the court again 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Minneapolis South High School, where the team faces off against Minneapolis South Gallant Tigers.