Girls fall in EPC semi
It seems like every time the Parkland girls team turns around this season, its facing unfriendly opponents. In their bid for an EPC championship, the Lady Trojans ran into defending state champion Bethlehem Catholic (14-2), who had started the season with a win over Parkland (11-5) in the EPC opener.
For the second straight season, the Golden Hawks ended Parkland’s hopes for a conference title with a 49-25 win last week.
The loss wasn’t the end of the road for Parkland, since the district playoffs are on the horizon.
In districts, the Trojans will face Nazareth (11-5), who has beaten them twice this season.
“We haven’t really talked about it as being a revenge game,” said PHS head coach Wes Spence. “We just look at this as the next game. We have to play well to beat them and that’s always what you’ve got to do when you reach this point of the season.”
The two regular season meetings were different types of games. In the first game, Nazareth worked the ball inside and drove the paint. When they did shoot from the outside, the Eagles drained three three-pointers in the 42-40 win.
The next meeting was at Nazareth and Parkland made Nazareth move the ball outside. The problem was that Nazareth, in particular, Amy Madison, didn’t miss. She drained four three-pointers to lead all scorers with 13 points. The result was a 46-35 win for Nazareth.
“They can just shoot,” said Spence. “We did a better job of sealing off the inside in the last meeting, but when they’ve got the ability to hit threes, then you have another thing that you need to shut down.”
It’s definitely not easy to beat any EPC team three times in one season, as was shown in the conference playoffs. Top-seeded Easton had beaten Freedom twice during the regular season, but the Patriots knocked off the Red Rovers in the opening round of the EPC tournament.
“I think there has to be some sense of confidence for them [Nazareth] because they’ve beaten us twice, but it’s always tough to get that third win,” said Spence. “I certainly don’t expect that they’re going to be overly confident or that they’re going to take us lightly.
“I know we still feel like we can beat anybody on a particular night and we’re not coming in with our heads down.”
As often happens by this point in the season, Parkland is battling their share of aches and pains and have had players struggle through colds and other illnesses, but right now, they’re healthy, which means Spence won’t have any holes to fill heading into districts. That’s an important distinction for Parkland since they don’t rely on one or two players to get their wins, preferring instead to spread the ball around and look for the hot hand.
“We’ve got the full roster, so we can use everybody,” said Spence. “This time of the year there are always minor issues and you have the colds and stuff, but we’ve pretty much shaken that and are ready to go.”