Girls’ basketball eager to win conference

Team prepares for challenging schedule


Molly Schochet

Junior Alena Jaranilla blocks senior Shalya Miller during practice. The first game will be 5:30 p.m. Nov. 22 against Hill-Murray at Hopkins High School.

Maddie Schutte and Sofia Seewald

Captain and senior Shayla Miller said after being close in past years, she hopes to end her basketball career at Park by winning their conference this season. 

“I really would like to win our conference this year. We’ve been close to the top (these) past two years and I think this year we have a really good shot at winning our conference. (Winning) would be a cool way to end my high school career,” Miller said.

Coach Arsenio Richardson said the team is looking toward a successful season.

“We have a very strong group across the board from ninth grade all the way up to our varsity team, so we should be extremely competitive with a bunch of girls that put a lot of hours in the gym and in the weight room,” Richardson said.

Freshman Bailey Turek said she enjoys being around strong female influences on the ninth grade team. 

“I like how it’s a whole group of girls and even though the coaches are boys, I really like how we’re all positive toward each other. It builds a really nice community,” Turek said.

Miller said the team will have to adjust to a different schedule this season.

“We have a pretty tough schedule this year, so it will be interesting to see where we match up against some of the really good teams in the state,” Miller said. “We’re also taking a trip to Wisconsin this year and in the past three years we haven’t traveled anywhere as a team, so that will be fun to do some team bonding.”

According to Turek, in order to have a successful season, the team should focus on bonding and creating a family dynamic. 

“I think playing a sport with a bunch of girls can be hard to get everyone to participate so setting up team bonding will help us all get used to each other so we’re more of a family instead of just friends,” Turek said.

 Richardson said the team captains have a valuable communication system that helps him in the coaching process. 

“I have phenomenal captains, Shayla (Miller) and Jordyn (Turek). They are great communicators, great leaders, and they work extremely hard on and off the court,” Richardson said. “What I’m going to do is send my messages through them because normally that resonates with the girls.”

Turek said she is looking forward to engaging in the community this season.

“We are going to help the community. Instead of spending money on fun things we’re going to be helping the community and giving back,” Turek said. “I think we’re going to be doing something with St. Louis Park Emergency Program (STEP) and some nursing homes and fundraisers.”

Miller said she hopes the girls joining varsity this year will adapt to the team atmosphere quickly. 

“I want the new girls that will be moving up this year to varsity to have a really good experience and be able to contribute to the team because we need to find those girls who can really step up,” Miller said. 

Girls’ basketball has its first game 5:30 p.m. Nov. 22 against Hill-Murray at Hopkins High School.