Girls’ basketball competes in challenging conference matchup

Park is defeated by Chanhassen 74-79 following countless lead changes


Creston Halstead

Sophomore Reagan Alexander protects the ball from two Chanhassen players. During the Park-Chanhassen game on Jan. 11, Chanhassen won with a score of 79-74.

Nolan Kelly

Early during its game on Friday, the girls’ basketball team took the lead against Chanhassen. With a combination of good decision making and ball handling, Park played a strong game, according to junior Jordyn Turek.

“I really liked our ball movement on offense,” Turek said. “I feel like we were really unselfish with it and we always looked to hit the open person or make the next pass.”

Considering the closeness in score throughout the game, the suspenseful and tense atmosphere was palpable, according to coach Kaiya Sygulla.

“It was definitely a high energy game. They came in ready to play,” Sygulla said. “Both teams are full of very good players, very good shooters. It was back and forth three-pointers a lot of the game.”

The team felt content with its performance throughout the game, however, it fell apart in the final minutes, according to Sygulla.

“The other team did really well on their driving and kicking, and we followed suit and hit some nice shots as well, but it just came down to the end of the game,” Sygulla said. “They made the plays they needed to make while we did not get the stops we needed.”

The team anticipated the challenge Chanhassen would bring, and despite playing well, still fell short due to defensive weaknesses, according to coach Chris Nordstrom.

“We knew Chanhassen was gonna come and play hard — same thing as last year — and we battled, struggled a bit on defense which is something we have to work on going forward,” Nordstrom said.

Friday’s game spurred the realization that composure and mental aspects of tense situations are important to work on, according to Nordstrom.  

“And at the end of the game, they just wanted it a little bit more,” Nordstrom said. “We are trying to find some ways to help our girls dig in late and really take some pride on the defensive side and finish games.”

The team agrees that a good mindset in those situations is just as important as knowing how to play the ball, according to Turek.

“We’re really working on mental toughness right now, so I think just each day we’re going to continue to get better at that and really dig deep, get on each other, and play harder,” Turek said.

The team took a painful loss but are planning to learn and get better from it, according to Sygulla.

“Everybody is bummed. Everybody is frustrated. Those games are tough because they come down to the wire and take a lot of energy and effort,” Sygulla said. “Not just on the physical side, but also on the mental side. We just have to find it in ourselves and everybody will come ready to play at practice.”Park will play again at 7 p.m. on  Jan. 15 against Bloomington Jefferson at Bloomington Jefferson High School, according to MN Girls’ Basketball Hub.