Girls still undefeated in conference games
Many times, a close game comes down to one team needing someone to step up and make a big play at just the right time. The Lady Trojans got just that in their 36-33 win over Emmaus, keeping Parkland perfect in Lehigh Valley Conference play.
With 41 seconds remaining and Parkland down by two, sophomore Sarah Stagaard hit a three-pointer from the left side of the court to put her team up 34-33. Erin Bross would step up seconds later and hit two key free-throws to give the Trojans a cushion and the eventual 36-33 win over their rivals.
"Any win is a good win and with Parkland and Emmaus, it's a rivalry and it's going to be physical and tonight was physical and even a little ugly at times and the fact that our girls were able to hang in there and come out with a win is a good win," said coach Wes Spence after his team went to 9-3 overall and 6-0 in the LVC.
For her part, Stagaard believes that she was just in the right place at the right time and was able to make the shot under circumstances that didn't really faze her.
"I think it helps with transition," said Stagaard with a big smile. "Brooke [Robertson], one of our posts, posted up really well and that helped me get the open shot through transition. It feels amazing. All the adrenaline is pumping in you and you don't even think about shooting, you just go for it. We execute very well on our plays, so that helps out a lot."
Spence believes that his team's tenacious approach to their transition game creates opportunities and Stagaard was able to make the big shot when her team needed it the most.
"Honestly, we were just in transition," said Spence "We didn't look great at times tonight, but I feel really comfortable with us when we're in transition. The defense doesn't have a chance to set up and we get a chance to attack the rim since we're on the go and we were able to get good penetration and I think her girl left her to help and she called out that she was open and she knocked it down with confidence. That was a big shot for her."
The fact that Parkland is having such a strong season comes as a surprise to some who thought the team might need a year to get back on their feet after graduation decimated their roster, leaving them with a very inexperienced team. For Spence, it's not a great surprise, but simply answers the biggest question that he had about the team coming into the season.
"We thought we had a deep team and an athletic team and great girls who would work hard and that takes you a long way," said Spence. "Our only question mark was the experience, because we didn't bring back a lot of experience and so, how would they adjust to varsity basketball and they're doing a fantastic job. A game in this environment is only going to help them improve and move forward."
Bad weather has made for a tough schedule for Parkland, but they've handled the situation well. Since last Thursday, Parkland played five out of six days and picked up wins against Northampton (5-6, 2-4), Dieruff (4-7, 1-4), Pocono Mountain West (6-5, 5-1), Liberty (6-6, 3-3) and Emmaus (6-5, 4-2). The schedule doesn't get easier either, with Parkland hosting Easton (5-5, 2-3) tonight, Freedom (4-6, 1-5) Friday night and then traveling to Bethlehem for a showdown with undefeated Bethlehem Catholic (11-0, 6-0) next Tuesday.
It's a tiring schedule, but according to Stagaard, it's not an issue for this young Parkland team.
"I don't think so," she said. "With school and everything, we are getting pretty tired, but when we get on that court, we just give it our all and we don't think about anything else."