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Park girls awake in the second half to down East Ridge

Park's Molly Wenner shoots over East Ridge defender Chloe Stoehr in the second half Jan. 16, 2018, in Park's 48-27 win. John Molene / Contributor 1 / 3
Senior guard Taylor Johnson of the Wolfpack drives in for a layup in the second half against host East Ridge. Johnson scored 14 points for Park. John Molene / Contributor 2 / 3
Riley Perryman of Park drives around an East Ridge defender in the second half Tuesday. Perryman had 17 points to lead Park offensively in the Wolfpack's 48-27 victory. John Molene / Contributor 3 / 3

Park's Wolfpack awoke from a sleepy first half with a 22-2 run to open the second and take a 48-27 win over host East Ridge in Suburban East Conference girls basketball Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Winless East Ridge got off to a fast start, jumping out to leads of 8-0 and 11-2 before the Wolfpack could get their footing. The Raptors played one of their best first halves of the season, said head coach Glen Wurm, and led 19-15 at the break.

East Ridge's Meaghan Rapp, Josie Dorf and Ella Stegman all drained three-point field goals in the first half to help the Raptors get off to a fast start.

"It was a great first half for us," Wurm said. "Our focus right now is to try to sustain all that we're trying to accomplish. And we were able to do that in the first half. Offensively, defensively, I thought we were great. I thought we rebounded the ball well. We made it difficult for them to score.

"And in the second half we had issues in both ends," Wurm added. "In keeping them in front of us. You saw us keep them in front of us in the first half. But we failed to do that in the second half and that created a lot of scoring chances for them. And then offensively we have to take care of the ball. We had some chances. Early in the game I thought we executed fairly well. We moved the ball, we had good movement. We got good shots. We just have to sustain it, that's the key for us right now."

Indeed, the second half was all Wolfpack. Park's players started moving their feet better on both sides of the ball. Defensively the Wolfpack started pressuring the ball and creating turnovers. Offensively the Wolfpack started driving to the basket to score or kicking it out for good open jump shots. Seniors Delaney Young, Taylor Johnson and Riley Perryman all came alive offensively in the first eight minutes of the second half as the Wolfpack took charge of the game.

"I think we all spaced out and ran our offense better and we worked the ball around instead of just chucking up shots, because our shots weren't really falling in the first half so we had to work it around more to get a better shot," Young said.

Park improved to 4-3 in the SEC and 12-3 on the season.

East Ridge fell to 0-7 in the league and 0-15 overall.

Young opened the second half with a 3-point play. Johnson drove for two and Perryman hit back-to-back baskets to lift Park to a 27-21 advantage with 13:08 remaining.

Park then reeled off the next 10 points to go from a four-point halftime deficit to a commanding 37-21 lead with 8:31 to play. In all, the Wolfpack outscored the Raptors 33-8 after the break.

Perryman led the Wolfpack in scoring with 17 points. Johnson added 14 and Young 10.

Meaghan Rapp had seven points and Kate Burns six to top East Ridge in scoring.

It was another sterling defensive effort for the Wolfpack, who held an opponent to a season low. Park has held four teams to 30 points or under so far this season.

"East Ridge, from what I've watched with them before, they always get off to a good start," Park coach Stephanie Tolkinen said. "They start well. They start with energy and just tend to fade a little bit. But we didn't come with a lot of energy for whatever reason. That was one point that we need to create some energy tonight. We need to create the tempo and East Ridge did that instead. We just didn't really respond well.

"Second half, we talked about it," Tolkinen added. "I made some strong points at halftime. And we just brought the pressure. We just ramped up our pressure. And I think our defense gave us some opportunities."

Park hosts White Bear Lake (8-8, 3-4) Friday, Jan. 19.

East Ridge plays at Forest Lake (9-7, 3-4) Friday, Jan. 19.