The high school girls basketball season is off and running as showcased in St. Paul Como Park’s 75-66 victory over Minneapolis North last week.
Not only did the game feature metro-area teams led by two of the state’s top coaches in Olonda England (St. Paul Como Park) and Brianna Edwards (Minneapolis North), but the game also honored Damon Walker.
Walker, who passed away this past summer, was a member of the Como Park faithful as his daughter, guard Shakyla Walker, helped lead the Cougars to a third-place finish in the Class AAA state tournament before spending last season as a guard at North Iowa Area Community College.
The fast-paced game was quite the treat for the capacity crown that showed up in Como Park’s gymnasium.
The Cougars raced to a 42-34 halftime lead behind the outstanding play of Makayia Kenney, Saha Hinton, Naijiona Shaw, Alice Wagner-Hemstad, Jailyn Walker, and Greta Seppanen.
Kenney scored a game-high 37 points, Shaw had 17, and Hinton chipped in 11 as Como Park remained undefeated with a 5-0 record.
Brooklyn Pettis’ 31 points led North, while Classie Carroll and Essence Williams each chipped in 10 with contributions coming from Mahogany Brown, Giana Johnson, and Kennedy Robinson.
North’s first loss of the season dropped them to 3-1, but the Polars increased their win total a couple of nights later as Pettis scored 23 points in a 73-56 victory over North St. Paul.
That same evening Como Park suffered its first setback of the season 74-59 to St. Croix Lutheran with Kenney leading the 5-1 Cougars with 13 points.
North, which has improved since last season, is striving for the Minneapolis City Conference crown held by Roosevelt last season.
Como Park is shooting for their 10th consecutive St. Paul City Conference championship and Twin Cities title appearance.
England, who played high school basketball at St. Paul Highland Park, is in her third year as head coach of the Cougars, while Edwards, who starred at her alma mater before embarking on a collegiate career at Providence College, is in her second year leading the Polars.
A good start to the season for both teams.