Girls knocked out in first round of playoffs
This year's Parkland girls team was an experienced group to say the least. The Lady Trojans boasted a starting lineup full of veterans with all five starting spots being filled by seniors.
The Trojans' senior-laden group had quite the year in 2012-13, qualifying for the 4A state tournament for the first time in coach Wes Spence's four-year tenure.
Unfortunately, Friday night at Scranton High School the Parkland girls season came to an end, dropping a tough contest to Wallenpaupack 43-40 in the opening round of the PIAA state tournament.
The Trojans' veteran prowess was showcased often throughout the contest on Friday night. After Wallenpaupack came out strong in the first quarter gaining an early-seven point advantage Parkland bounced back in the second.
It was evident the Trojans intensity level rose in the second quarter as they tormented the Buckhorns with a very fast and aggressive full court 1-2-2 defense. The result was a good one as they held Wallenpack to just four points and closed within one heading into halftime.
"We knew they had a great inside game, but we're better when we're playing an uptempo type game," said Spence. "It's tough because you're tempted to pack it in and play a slower game just to try and compete inside a bit, but when it comes down to it that's not our game. We're just a better team when we get out and run and use the open court to our advantage."
Parkland's uptempo game kept them in the contest, but the difference was the Buckhorns dominance inside. Wallenpaupack senior Alexix Roman was just too much for the Trojans to handle. Roman scored 19 points all from inside the paint and got second and third chances on multiple occassions. She scored 10 of her 19 points in the second half.
"It was a tough matchup for us inside, but we still gave up too many second chance opportunities," said Spence. "I think in the third quarter alone they got 10 points off second and third chance opportunities. When you're trying to claw back into a game or finish a team off those type of things cannot happen."
Parkland took one last shot at the Buckhorns in the fourth. They got their first lead of the game with a little over four minutes left in the game. Wallenpaupack started the fourth by scoring two straight buckets, but the Trojans responded going on a 8-0 run.
The Parkland lead would be short lived however when Roman scored on a deuce inside off an offensive board. A Raeann Erhart field goal then extended the Wallenpaupack lead to four. Parkland had a shot to tie it up a couple times in the last 10 seconds, but they couldn't get any of their three-point attempts to fall.
Sierra Derti led the Trojans with 10 points.
Helping out Roman was Bridgette Mann, who chipped in with 11 points.
Although the Trojans weren't able to advance they're on the right track for what coach Wes Spence has envisioned for the future of the Parkland girls basketball program.
"We talked to the girls after the game about just being so proud their effort and hard work this season," said Spence. "This is where you want to be year in and year out, competing in league playoffs, districts and states. This is a special senior group and we hope to continue to get better as a program."