Wayzata win ends Orioles’ season

Girls’ basketball eliminated from playoffs

Molly Schochet

Senior Selam Maher held back tears as the buzzer went off, marking the end to her final game of her high school career . While the team’s loss marked an end to a chapter in her life, Maher said she was proud of how her team played throughout the day considering what it faced. 

“We just worked hard every possession,” Maher said. “We had some lapses where we weren’t where we needed to be, but overall just worked hard and played together. I mean, everything we did, it was very challenging.”

After winning the first round of the Section 6AAA tournament 71-54 against Cooper, the team was sent home in the semifinal by Wayzata March 3. The 59-79 loss marks the end of the season for the team. 

Going into the game against Wayzata, which is ranked 7 in the state, head coach Arsenio Richardson knew that his team would have to battle in order to stay in the fight, which according to him, is exactly what it did.

“I was extremely proud. Normally in a loss it’s frustrating, but I was super proud of the girls today,” Richardson said. “We came out and gave it our max effort, overall a better team just won today.”

While watching film leading up to the game, junior Staci Spates said the team often saw Wayzata fall back from a man-on-man defense and into a zone defense when feeling threatened ,so she knew Park was playing strong as Wayzata fell into a zone defense multiple times throughout the game. 

“They hit us with a two-three at the end of the first half and that’s how you know we were getting to them,” Spates said. “They hit us with zone again in the second half. So I believe that we really came out and we gave them a run for their money.”

Maher emphasized the effort and heart that the team put into the game that allowed them to keep the game competitive. 

“Nobody really thought we were gonna win and even compete with this team, but us just sticking through the whole game shows how much work we put in this season,” Maher said. 

While the scoreboard may not have reflected it, Richardson said that he hopes the team can walk away from this season knowing how much it grew.

“I’m hoping that we see that we can compete. This is one of the best teams in the state, and we’re right there,” Richardson said. “I hope that our girls are seeing that we’re not that far off, but it’s gonna take a lot of work.” 

As she thinks about what is coming next for her as the sole senior on the team, Maher said she is grateful for the community she found on the team.

“There’s so many great people that I met here. I’m just going to carry (on) those relationships,” Maher said.