Parkland Press

Monday, December 17, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland’s Claire Courter made all 10 of her free throws in Monday’s playoff game at Stroudsburg. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_ PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland’s Claire Courter made all 10 of her free throws in Monday’s playoff game at Stroudsburg. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_

Girls advance with win over Mounties

Thursday, February 15, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Maybe a little pressure was all the Lady Trojans needed to get back into a winning mode.

Needing a win in their season finale against Northampton to reach the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs, they downed the Konkrete Kids 44-36. The sixth-seeded Trojans then had to travel to Stroudsburg Monday night to face the third-seeded Mounties and they pulled off a 45-39 win to advance to the semifinals of the EPC Tournament.

Claire Courter put on an impressive display from the foul line, hitting all 10 of her free throws and then nailed two three-pointers to finish with a game-high 18 points for Parkland. Kassidy Stout scored 11 for Parkland, while the Mounties got 17 from Angelica Byra and 11 from Mahogany Wooten.

“Claire’s a natural scorer and does a very nice job of taking advantage of the opportunities that she gets,” said Parkland head coach Wes Spence. “Early in the game they lost track of her a couple of times and we found her and she takes advantage of those things.

“We’d get the ball inside and they’d collapse their zone and we were able to get the ball to her. We do a great job of sharing the ball and getting it into her hands and she can shoot.”

As it turns out, the league quarterfinals were an interesting collection of games. Two of the four games, Easton-Freedom and Central Catholic-Nazareth, were rematches of the season finales and both wound up with the team that lost the finale winning the playoff rematches. I

n fact, Easton had downed Freedom in each of their previous meetings during the regular season and was the top-seeded team in the tournament. Bethlehem Catholic, the tournament’s second seed, was the only higher seeded team to win their opening playoff game, as well.

“I think that it speaks to the parity and all four games were close,” said Spence. “I know how the Freedom-Easton game feels, because we’ve done that a few times with Northampton where it’s tough for one team to completely own that matchup and come out on the winning end every time.

“People talk about parity all year where anybody can beat anybody and that’s what we saw.”

As for his team, Spence believes that its success goes back to the goals that the team set for itself before the season began.

Last year, Parkland made it to the semifinals, also against Bethlehem Catholic, but lost 47-39 to the eventual state champions. Spence believes his girls are determined to make this year’s bracket look different from last year’s final bracket.

“This is the spot that we got to last year and I think we’ve done a good job of carrying that high standard for our team and we look to do well in the playoffs,” said Spence. “I think the girls are looking forward to it and they’re not content to just be here. They’re motivated and are challenging themselves.”

Following the league championships, Parkland will be competing in the District 11 Tournament which begins next week. Last season, Parkland reached the semifinals of districts before being beaten by Easton, the eventual District 11 champion.