A hard luck opening stretch for an improving but still young Park team continued, but the struggle to get on the plus side of the ledger also goes on.
The host Wolfpack (1-5) dropped a tough 51-45 decision to visiting Rosemount (2-4) Saturday afternoon before a crowd marking the 45th anniversary of Park girls’ basketball.
The loss was the fifth in six games for the Wolfpack, four of which were decided by seven points or less.
“I’m just really proud of our girls,” said Park head coach Stephanie Tolkinen. “We’re playing better basketball. Even the result is a loss it’s a win because we played with this team from the beginning, from the tip. We took leads. They did some good things, we had some mistakes. Those are just some things we’re going to have to keep working on. We’re just going to have to be able to execute better with a lead and with a little more pressure.
“As the girls continue to grow in confidence and still learning to play together a little bit better, I just think we’re going to keep getting better,” Tolkinen added. “The defense is slowly getting better and we need a few more kids to come off the bench and step up a little bit more for us. But it will come.”
Park led 26-22 at the half and then 29-22 with 16:20 to play before the Irish tied the game at 31-all. It was a back-and-forth battle the rest of the way with the two teams tied at 36-all and 41-all with 6:58 to play. Rosemount then went up by 44-41 and led the rest of the way.
Park was outrebounded 31-22 and had trouble corralling offensive boards, which hurt the Wolfpack’s chances.
Senior Justine Jameson scored 15 points and sophomore guard Tori Henderson 13 to lead Park in scoring Saturday.
Park lost a 51-48 heartbreaker to visiting Roseville Tuesday, the Wolfpack falling to 1-4 on the season.
It was another close game for Park with four of five games decided by seven points or less, and two losses by a combined four points.
Park led 27-23 at the break but was outscored 28-21 in the second half.
Justine Jameson went off for a season-high 29 points in the game. Elsa Olson scored nine, while Sydnee Nelson and Emma Ambroz had five each.
Park plays at Lakeville North (3-2) in a non-conference contest Wednesday, Dec. 22 before a 13-day Christmas break.