Girls’ basketball overcomes Kennedy in first Section game

Park secures victory in overtime period

According to junior Shayla Miller, the game was especially difficult and intense because, if they didn’t win, their season would be over.

“We knew they were going to battle, they were going to fight,” Miller said. “It’s their last game of the season now, so we knew it was going to be tough.”

Throughout the game Feb. 27, Park focused on strategy and fundamentals in order to gain and hold the lead, according to Miller.

“It was really just about executing our game plan and staying mentally tough,” Miller said. “They like to reach and hack, so we needed to make sure we were strong with the ball.”

According to coach Arsenio Richardson, Kennedy performed more dominantly in the beginning before Park obtained control and closed the gap.

“We had a stretch where we took a time out, and the girls wanted to get stops,” Richardson said. “We were down 12, we pushed it all the way back and then we were only down two at half.”

According to junior Jordyn Turek, she also noticed a discernible moment when Park took over and showed more spirit.

“We started out kind of slow. We were kind of giving them every shot they wanted,” Turek said. “Then we really picked it up, started playing harder and being aggressive.”

According to Richardson, winning the first round of the Sections tournament was a significant morale booster.

“It feels awesome. Section wins are hard to come by,” Richardson said. “We start out with 64 (teams) and everybody plays tonight with 32 teams going home.”

According to Turek, now that the team is advancing to more difficult matchups, the players simply wish to play hard, especially if it could be Park’s last game.

“We have nothing to lose in the next game because we’re playing some really good teams,” Turek said. “It’ll just be interesting to see how well we grow.”

According to Miller, the team is going to prepare as best as possible before facing the number one ranked team in Minnesota, Hopkins High School.

“We only have two days of practice until we play the best team in the state,” Miller said. “We really have to focus and get ready for them on Saturday.”

Although Hopkins will have the home-court advantage, Park is not planning to end its season without a fight, according to Richardson.

“We’re not going to go over there and lay down,” Richardson said. “We’re going to give it all we’ve got.”

Park will play Hopkins in its second section game at 12 p.m. March 2 at Hopkins High School, according to MN Girls’ Basketball Hub.