Girls take title
For the first time since 2007, the Parkland girls basketball team has captured the District 11 basketball trophy after downing top-seeded Pocono Mountain West 38-35. Olivia Brown scored a game-high 21 points and Erin Bross chipped in with 13 to lead the Lady Trojans, who now head to states with an 18-8 overall record.
In some ways, Parkland was lucky to escape with the win after coming out cold and having trouble finding the basket in the early going. The Trojans missed some key foul shots late in the game, but thanks to an unrelenting defense they were able to come away with the win.
"Our defense was the key," said coach Wes Spence. "We had some inconsistent shooting, but we were able to put pressure on Pocono Mountain West and keep them from taking advantage. Early on, we just didn't execute and weren't able to get our transition going because they forced us into a half-court game."
Brown, who generally leads the team in scoring, had been having trouble shooting in the postseason, but found her shot against the Panthers. Ten of her points were in the final quarter and she hit a big jump-shot in the game's final 90-seconds to extend Parkland's lead to four. Another key basket down the stretch came from Erica Bross, who drove to the basket and put Parkland up 34-32 before Brown hit the key jumper. The basket was the only one of the night for Erica Bross, who found ways to contribute with rebounding and strong defense.
While Brown is generally the big offensive threat, Erin Bross isn't usually known for her offensive output. Instead, Bross is usually the one playing tough defense and finding open shooters to get the ball to in key spots.
"Erin really runs our show," said Spence. "She doesn't get a lot of credit for her offense, but she's capable of scoring when we need it. We always expect a lot out of her when she's on the court."
Erin Bross kind of epitomizes what has been a key for Parkland all season long by doing what she needs to do in each game and finding ways to contribute.
"Every game, I just try to see what I can do to help the team, whether it's offensively or on defense," she said. "If I find I'm open, I'll take a shot. Erica was having a tough night offensively, but it was almost like we just switched roles for the night."
Most teams can point to key moments during the season and for Parkland, both Spence and Erin Bross agreed that having the winter weather force them into a stretch of eight games in 10 days earlier in the season was a significant period for the team.
"Those eight games in 10 days really brought the team together," said Spence. "We were just playing really well and I know they were tired, but they just all came together as a team."
Parkland opens the PIAA Tournament with a game Friday night at Allen High School against Central Bucks East, who are 16-10 on the season.