Girls battle, fall short against Northampton
The Northampton Konkrete Kids did what other teams haven’t been able to do this season: keep Claire Courter from putting up a pile of points in a game. The Kids defense held Courter to just four points and took a 43-40 win over the Lady Trojans Tuesday night at Parkland High School.
Victoria Keenan led all scorers with 18 points, while teammate Jenna Rogers scored 13 for Northampton (4-1 overall, 3-0 EPC).
Parkland came out cold and shot just 29 percent (7-for-24) from the field in the first half as Northampton led by as many as eight points early on. Parkland was able to cut the lead down to six by halftime, trailing 26-20.
Both teams let their defenses do the work in the third quarter and Parkland entered the final eight minutes trailing by six. The first basket of the quarter didn’t come until nearly halfway through as Northampton slowed the pace to a crawl on offense.
“I think that they may have run out of gas a little bit there in the middle of the fourth, but we got a little spurt and at this point, that’s a big step for us,” said Parkland head coach Ed Ohlson.
The spurt that his team put on came late in the game when Mia Coval drove the lane for two and cut the Northampton lead to 39-32 with 2:40 left in regulation. With 1:11 left to play, Kaitlyn Rothwell hit a big three-pointer to cut the lead to four as Parkland had all the momentum going its way.
Kassidy Stout scored two of her nine points with just 12 seconds left, but Rogers dropped in two foul shots, giving her four straight points from the line in the final minute of the game to put things away.
Even with the game seemingly out of reach, the Trojans didn’t quit. Lindsay Berger launched a three-pointer from just across the halfcourt line to make it 43-40 with one second left in the game.
“I was really, really pleased that the girls never quit,” said Ohlson. “They kept fighting and fighting.”
Courter, who came into the contest averaging 17 points per game, finished with just four points. Rothwell led Parkland (4-1, 2-1) with 10 points, while Stout and Berger both ended with nine points on the night.
With Courter showing herself to be one of the bigger scoring threats in the EPC, teams are focusing more and more on her and looking to take her out of Parkland’s offensive attack.
“If I was coaching against us that’s what I would do,” said Olson. “We knew coming in that they were going to try something like that. We probably didn’t set the screens that we wanted to get her open. It was nice to see some other girls step up a little bit for us. Kaitlyn Rothwell stepped up nicely and Mia Coval and Kaz Kennedy stepped up nicely.”
Parkland faces Dunmore, one of the better Class 3A teams in the state Thursday on the road and Ohlson is ready for the challenge. While adjusting to his new players and girls basketball in general, Ohlson is happy with the progress and likes what he’s seen through the first five games of the season, but is still looking for more from his team.
“I know looking in a player’s eyes if they’re in and these girls are in,” Ohlson stressed. “We’re still very excited about what the future can be here, but we’re not going to talk about the future. We’re going to talk about tomorrow and how can we get better. As long as we do that and keep getting better, then I’ll be happy.”