Girls basketball goes through gauntlet
Playing a parade of tough teams didn't help the Lady Trojans record, but they learned a lot even in losing games to Bethlehem Catholic, Nazareth and Cumberland Valley over the past week.
Bethlehem Catholic remains undefeated in the LVC and is 16-3 overall this season, while Nazareth has been one of the conference's hottest teams over the past few weeks. Add in Cumberland Valley, the top ranked team in Pennsylvania, and the Trojans can't be too upset with how things turned out.
"We talked about it as just sort of a measuring stick to see where we measure up to other teams and it put us in situations where we faced adversity," said Parkland head coach Wes Spence. "So how do we respond to adversity? In some of those games we responded very well. I thought against Central we responded really well to a tight game and tonight we responded really well to a tight game and a tight situation.
"Some of the other games, we didn't respond as well and rather than doing the things that we needed to do, we got a little flustered and got outside of ourselves. I think that's what playing top level competition can teach your team is to just stay in the moment and point out to you your deficiencies, so that if we ever get to practice again, we'll get to work on."
At 11-2 in the LVC and 14-7 overall, Parkland has clinched a spot in both the LVC playoffs and in the District 11 Tournament. With one more LVC win, the Trojans would clinch the North Division of the LVC, but can do no worse than a wild card berth for next week's playoffs.
Spence has shuttled all of his girls in and out of the lineup this season, gaining valuable experience for the youngest players on his team. Now that the postseason is looming, Spence believes that the experience they gained will come in handy and take some of the pressure off his young team.
"We play a lot of girls regularly in the games and I don't necessarily know exactly how many minutes they're all playing, but this is game 21 now and they're starting to feel more comfortable," he said. "One of the tough things when you play so many girls is trying to get a feel for their role and what they do.
"That's got to be a little tough on them and we've talked about that and how their role can change and that has been a challenge, but I think our girls are doing a fantastic job with that."
Against Northampton Tuesday night, it was one of the seniors that played a key role with her rebounding. Brynne Brouse had 10 rebounds and scored eight second-half points in the 40-38 win over the Konkrete Kids. The win put the Lady Trojans back in the win column and started the final week of the regular season on a high note.
"Rebounding is a huge part of the game," Brouse said. "We love hustle and hustle is going to help us achieve our goals, so that's one of the big focuses for us.
"We feel confident because even though we played hard teams, we didn't give up in anything we did, so we came out strong and the things we made mistakes on we learned from those mistakes and we're just going to come out 10 times stronger."
As a senior, Brouse has the added pressure of deciding on her plans for the future. She's decided that she wants to major in biology and pursue pre-med courses, but hasn't made any official decision on what college she'll attend. The fact that her high school career is in its final stretch is something that Brouse is well aware of.
"This was my last home game and it was a bittersweet moment," said Brouse. "It would be a great opportunity for us to go as far as possible and to go a step further than we have already gone, and more importantly, it's important to leave these girls with the impression of what we want Parkland basketball to be. If we show them, as seniors, that we want them to be this good, they can step up to the plate and take charge for next year.
"We're really proud of our young players and I think they look to the seniors. We all have confidence in each other and we have trust in each other and that's pretty important for the team, especially when the seniors and the underclassmen come together and have success and I think we're doing a great job of that."