Trojans fall to Chester
It was another state tournament game for Parkland boys basketball. The Trojans had been there before. Eight times in the last 11 years to be exact. The stage was not too big.
But Chester proved to be too big with its size in taking control of the second half and defeating Parkland 55-41 last Saturday in the PIAA Class 6A first round game at Freedom High School.
“That was our eighth state tournament in 11 years,” said head coach Andy Stephens. “Kids expect to make it there and work hard to make sure it happens. We have great kids and they work hard for everything.”
The Trojans (16-11 overall) stayed with the perennial state championship contender Clippers for all of the first half. They slowed down the pace of the game, knowing that Chester likes to play fast and up-tempo and push the pace.
Parkland was led by four points from senior Logan Rindock in the first quarter and seven from junior Jake Melady in the second quarter as it trailed just by three, 21-18 at halftime.
But then things changed.
“I thought we hung in there in the first half, what we were trying to do seemed to work,” Stephens said. “You could tell in the first three or four minutes (of the second half) they kicked it up a gear and they threw us off. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, the kids had the right intentions and played hard.”
Chester began using a full-court press and used its size, athleticism and speed to force the Trojans into a number of turnovers in the second half.
Parkland only scored five points in the third quarter, while the Clippers raced to 25 points and held a 46-23 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Just like that, the game turned.
“We scouted them and we knew what we wanted to do,” said Stephens. “I thought the press really bothered us. I think the press affected us, but I thought it was more of us not being able to score. We just had problems scoring today.”
Melady led Parkland with a team-high 20 points. The next closest was six from Jared Kucharczuk, followed by four each by Rindock and Adam Klinger.
The Trojans doubled-up Chester by outscoring it 18-9 in the final quarter, but the hole was too deep to dig out of from the third quarter.
Parkland will still bring back a large chunk of its roster next season, including four starters and several other contributors.
“I’m really proud of my seniors,” Stephens said. “We’re going to miss those six guys. My message to the kids was that they showed so much character. I thank them and I’m proud of them.”