Trojans top EHS
The Parkland and Central Catholic boys basketball players must have felt like they were shooting a basketball into the ocean in the first quarter of their game last Tuesday night at Rockne Hall at Central Catholic High School.
The two teams combined for 10 three-pointers in the first quarter. Although the Trojans went almost point for point with the Vikings that opening frame, they weren’t able to match it for the rest of the game and fell 64-52 in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference matchup.
No team likes to make excuses, but the game against Central Catholic was Parkland’s fourth in five days, having beaten Nazareth last Friday before losing to Scranton Prep Saturday and defeating Emmaus by one point Monday.
“I thought that the guys had tired legs out there, at least trying to finish the game when we fell behind,” said Trojan head coach Andy Stephens. “We were fatigued and facing some injuries too, so that made it tough to field a consistent lineup, and our depth took a hit.”
One of those injuries happened Tuesday night when sophomore starter Jared Kucharczuk hurt his ankle in the fourth quarter. Senior Jake Bartholomew also was hobbled because of an injury to his foot, but he played a majority of the minutes against Emmaus and finished with a game-high 24 points.
Bartholomew connected on four three-pointers, two of which came in that first quarter when both teams could not miss from downtown.
Kucharczuk and senior Michael Ruisch each hit from distance in the opening period, with Ruisch’s triple giving Parkland (8-7 overall, 5-5 EPC) its first lead at 9-6, a lead it would hold until the Vikings hit back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game at 17-17 before taking the lead for good at 20-17 at the end of the first quarter.
Central Catholic (14-2, 9-1) made six three-pointers in the first quarter and only had one field goal inside of the arc during that time.
“They shot great in the first half and that really helped them find a rhythm,” Stephens said. “We played well too, so it was a bit discouraging to still be behind after the first eight minutes.”
The Vikings’ Nick Filchner, who hit four straight three-pointers in the first quarter, remained red hot in the second. The sophomore connected on his next three from long range and had a career-high 21 points through the first half.
Central Catholic still led by only five points, 33-28 at halftime.
The Vikings outscored the Trojans 14-9 in the third quarter to take a double-digit lead (47-37) heading into the final quarter.
After a three-pointer by Bartholomew, Parkland trailed by just seven, 47-40 within the first 30 seconds of the quarter. But Central Catholic’s senior point guard Jay Vaughan hit back-to-back three’s to push their lead back into double-figures and deflate any comeback attempt that the Trojans may have had going.
“Those threes were big for them,” said Stephens. “It put us in a tough spot to win when we were within striking distance and playing great defense. They were deflating for sure.”
Parkland travels to take on Pocono Mountain East on Friday night and then hosts Harrisburg in Sunday’s HoopGroup Showcase at 12:30 p.m.
Through Tuesday’s game, the Trojans are in fourth place in the EPC Skyline Division with six league games remaining.
They need three more wins overall to earn a district playoff berth and will likely have to win at least three or four more league games to be one of the eight EPC playoff teams.