Boys bounce back, beat Stroudsburg
Last Saturday night the Parkland boys basketball team was in a place in a position the Trojans do not expect to happen often this season playing in a game following a loss.
The Trojans were beaten at Whitehall 63-59 the night before, and were trying to avoid a two-game skid heading into the holiday break when they took on Stroudsburg Saturday.
Justin Zajko tallied 17 points for Parkland, as they held off a late surge from the Mounties to win the nonconference game at Parkland High School, 59-56 in overtime.
"We needed a win for sure," said Zajko. "But we needed a team win. I think we're a better team than a three-point win tonight, but a win is a win."
The Trojans (3-1 overall, 1-1 LVC) needed each and every point. The Mounties looked out of it when they trailed 25-12 at halftime and 41-31 after three quarters, but Jacob Battle helped bring his team back in a big way. He notched five three-pointers in the second half and scored seven points in overtime to give Parkland a scare.
"I think one of our main problems was not coming in to play hard," noted Zajko. "Defense has been an issue. We've been letting in more points than we would like to."
Parkland forced turnovers and scored easily in the first half. Devante Cross had a steal that led to a dunk early in the second quarter. Jimmy Hahn (nine points) forced three first-half turnovers.
But whatever was said in the Stroudsburg locker room at halftime motivated the Mountie players. Battle began finding a rhythm from the floor, and even with Parkland still scoring, the Trojans just couldn't stop Battle.
"I think in the first half we played well defensively, but offensively we only scored 25 points by halftime," said head coach Andy Stephens. "In the second half Battle started making a bunch of threes, and they were trapping us and we weren't taking care of the basketball. We just had too many turnovers, and they made shots when they needed to. But it's a win. We didn't want to go into the break with two losses."
Nick Rindock (13 points) and Nick Selvaggi (eight points) were hard to stop, and along with Zajko, helped lead the Trojans to victory over the overtime period.
Parkland will now look to improve its play with a home holiday tournament beginning Friday night.