Park prevails in overtime thriller

Game winning block proves to be difference

Senior+Blake+Anderson+drives+to+the+hoop+to+score+the+game+winning+basket+against+Orono+Jan.+11.+Anderson+blocked+a+layup+by+Orono+on+the+next+play+to+clinch+the+win.

Henry Harper

Senior Blake Anderson drives to the hoop to score the game winning basket against Orono Jan. 11. Anderson blocked a layup by Orono on the next play to clinch the win.

Aidan Shafton

After a 62-61 overtime win over Orono, senior Blake Anderson said that staying focused and sticking to the game plan was key to Park coming away with the win.

“We had to keep playing hard, especially on defense and we had to stick to our game plan in order to win. There were a lot of back and forth runs and it’s pretty easy to lose focus,” Anderson said. “Maintaining our focus and finishing the game was the main thing.” 

Anderson’s focus helped him make big plays throughout the game Jan. 11, making a shot to force overtime and making another shot to put the team up by 1 in overtime with six seconds left. Ultimately, Anderson’s block on what would’ve been a game winning layup clinched the win for Park. Anderson said that he knew he would be able to get a hand on the ball as long as he didn’t foul the attacker. 

“I knew I could not foul him at all because then it would be game over—we lose,” Anderson said. “I found the ball and blocked the shot enough so that he would miss and it worked.”

My shot hadn’t really been falling all night and we were down. I felt like the best way that we would have a chance to win is if I tried to get to the rim. I wasn’t really even trying to make the shot, I was trying to get to the free throw line, but it ended up working out. ”

— Blake Anderson

 Coach Dave Breitenbucher said the game plan going into overtime was to force Orono out of their comfort zone and to defend their three point shots with perfection.

“We couldn’t allow Orono to get in the gaps. They get really comfortable when they get penetration and kick the ball out to their shooters,” Breitenbucher said. “We need to get back to the team we are, which is a good defensive team and we’re working on that in practice.”

Senior Henry Odens said defense was the main focus for Park going into the game after struggling in recent games.

“Our biggest goals were to shut down number 33 and five because they were their biggest scorers,” Odens said. “We were really focused on defense because we were lacking in the last two games.”

Breitenbucher said he was proud of how well Anderson executed the final shot to give Park the lead, and ultimately the win.

“We were trying to get somebody going to the rim, so Blake took a hard drive to the rim, which is what we had planned,” Breitenbucher said. “Blake knew the time, he knew the situation and he finished it. I’m proud of him.”

Park is next set to battle against Benilde St. Margaret’s at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 at St. Louis Park High School.