Patriots’ fourth-quarter rally beats Parkland
The Parkland boys basketball team was playing its best basketball of the season, sporting a season-long six game win streak entering its weekend game with Freedom.
It looked as if the winning was going to continue as it held a sizeable lead against the Patriots. However, offensive struggles in the final quarter led to a come-from-behind win for Freedom over Parkland, 61-57, last Friday night at Parkland High School in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference game.
It was the second straight win for the Patriots (10-2 overall, 7-1 EPC) over the Trojans (9-4, 5-3) this season as the two teams met in the season’s opening tournament at Notre Dame (Green Pond) with Freedom on the winning end of things by a similar margin, 73-67.
Parkland was ahead for most of the game and was up 33-17 at halftime. It led by as much as 17 points, 45-28 with 3:20 left in the third quarter, but the Patriots began finding rhythm on the offensive end of the floor and picked it up defensively, holding the Trojans to just one field goal and seven points in the fourth quarter with relentless pressure on the ball.
“That’s a scrappy team,” said Parkland head coach Andy Stephens about Freedom. “But hopefully we’ll get to play them again. I would love it.”
The Patriots defense proved to wear down the legs and thus the shooting of Parkland.
The Trojans’ defense in the first half forced some shooting woes for Freedom, which connected on just 2 of 13 shots from the floor in the first quarter and 6 of 25 overall in the first half.
Jake Melady had a team-high 16 points and Logan Rindock tallied 15 for the Trojans, whose turnover issues and shooting woes caught up to them as the Patriots made their comeback.
“There’s no doubt we’re wearing teams down by the fourth quarter, but we’ve got to do a better job of coming out in the first half and playing better,” Freedom head coach Joe Stellato said. “I think we wear teams down mentally and they’re making mistakes and that’s helping us. If we play better in the first half, we’re really going to be a good team.”
Leading 50-39 heading into the final quarter, Parkland would amass just one field goal (and five free-throws) in the first seven-plus minutes, while Freedom made its comeback using both sides of the ball.
“Hopefully, it’s a learning experience,” Stephens said. “I told them at halftime that they couldn’t afford to get complacent. We had to get after them because they were going to try to come back and that’s exactly what happened.
“Unfortunately, as soon as things stop going right, it becomes a snowball effect. It’s just one game, but we need a good practice [Saturday] to make sure we have a good mindset going forward.”
Gabe Khalife and Trey Rolle both had seven points for the Trojans. Rolle, the starting point guard, was forced to leave the game early due to injury.
Parkland hosted Dieruff last Tuesday and travels to take on Pleasant Valley tomorrow.