Girls bounce back, beat PME
The erratic schedule for teams over the Christmas and New Year holidays can throw some teams off. Normally, the Parkland girls (8-3 overall, 5-2 EPC) are playing in a tournament or even taking a trip out of state to get games in and stay sharp, but with a coaching change coming during the offseason, there wasn’t time to find a spot to play.
So, Ed Ohlson used the time to run his team through practices and work on a few things that he noticed during the early part of the season.
“It is good to have that extra practice time,” said Ohlson. “Most coaches would rather practice than play games, so I was happy for the time. We put it to good use and the girls worked hard, like they always do, and I was happy with how things went.”
After a 4-0 start, Parkland lost back-to-back games to Northampton (10-2, 6-1) and Dunmore. Both teams are more than just a worthy opponent and provided the Lady Trojans with an opportunity to gauge where they are. Dunmore is generally ranked in or near the top five girls teams in the state and is off to a 10-0 start.
While the Trojans lost both games, they quickly bounced back with two wins before Christmas and then had an 11-day layoff until they played again.
Their first game back was against another tough opponent in Easton (6-5, 3-3) and they fell 46-45. One day later, the Trojans took out some frustrations against Pocono Mountain West (6-4, 4-2) in a 50-31 win.
“When you lose to tough teams like that, you can find things to take out of those games and see as positives and you can also find some things that they were able to do against you that you have to fix,” Ohlson said. “We know we can be better and I think we’ve gotten better as the season has gone on and that’s what a coach always likes to see.”
Claire Courter is making the most of her senior season, averaging just under 14 points per game after a start that saw her closer to the 20 points per game mark early on. Since then, teams have keyed on her and cut her opportunities, but younger players have stepped up to produce.
Ohlson pointed out the play of freshman Kaz Kennedy along with sophomore Lindsay Berger and the rotation of freshman Zoey Wilkinson and junior Mia Coval as being high points for the team this season.
“The young players are always working so hard and picking things up from the coaches and the older girls on the team. They all play hard and we’ve been able to rely on them in key spots and they’ve come through,” said Ohlson. “When you have those young players and combine them with a player like Kassidy Stout, who has been a rock for us, and Courter, you’re in good shape.”
One of the story lines coming into the season was the arrival of Ohlson, who had logged plenty of time as a high school coach, but all of it came with boys teams. Now, with half of a season in, he has found that coaching girls is just as exciting.
“Obviously, there are some physical differences in the game, but these girls work as hard as anybody and they’re as coachable as anybody,” said Ohlson. “They play at a very high level and when it comes to the Xs and Os of the game, it’s pretty much the same thing. I knew I would enjoy it and I definitely am having a good time.”
Parkland opened up the 2019 portion of their schedule with a 54-27 win over East Stroudsburg South (1-9, 0-7) on Tuesday night. Courter led the Trojans with 12 points in the game, while Lindsay Berger added 11 points and Kaitlyn Rothwell chipped in with nine points.
Eight different Parkland players scored in the game as Parkland pulled out to a 26-14 halftime lead and a 41-20 advantage after three quarters.
Parkland is back in action Friday night when it travels to Freedom and resumes Tuesday with a game at Dieruff.