Orioles prepare for section tournament

Boys’ basketball team aims for seed at State


Izzi Gilbert Burke

Senior Ray Whitlock runs down the court at the game Feb. 5 against Bloomington Kennedy. The Oriole’s won 74-66.

Ethan Brown

Junior Mykal Howard looks back on the Orioles’ basketball season, proud of what his team accomplished during regular season play. Howard now hopes for a shot at the State tournament, but realizes his first obstacle — the Section 6AAAA tournament.

“Personally, I’m going to push myself and my teammates in practice and just play hard to ensure a win,” Howard said. “I want to have fun and help give our team a chance to do something special for our school.”

The boys’ basketball team ended its 2015-16 regular season with a record of 18-8, according to the athletic department. The section’s tournament begins for Park at Robbinsdale Armstrong Feb. 24.

Head coach David Breitenbucher said he looks forward to another matchup with Armstrong, as the team’s first game against them ended in a 91-79 loss Dec. 11.

“This game is going to be very close either way,” Breitenbucher said. “Armstrong got the best of us last time but we’re a better team now than we were in December. I think people see us as the underdogs.”

Howard said he anticipates strong competition from Armstrong, but believes the team has enough assets to pull off a victory.

“I think we have a really strong chance at winning (against Armstrong),” Howard said. “We played Armstrong earlier this year and lost, but now we know their tendencies and are very prepboys-basketball-c8ared.”

Breitenbucher said he worries about the team’s defensive ability and cites it as a point of improvement going into the game.

“We really need to cover everyone’s end defensively,” Breitenbucher said. “We play on-ball defense really well, but we tend to take breaks off-ball.”

Howard said the team’s mentality in practice changed closer to the end of the regular season in anticipation of the section tournament.

“The intensity in practice has picked up a lot,” Howard said. “All of us just want to keep our season going.”

The Orioles play their first game in the Section 6AAAA tournament against the Robbinsdale Armstrong Falcons at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School.