Eagles edge PHS in battle of unbeatens
It’s still fairly early in the high school basketball season, but when two teams with 5-0 records overall and 3-0 records in the East Penn Conference meet in an early-season matchup, it’s a key game.
Such was the case when Nazareth came into Parkland High School for a meeting of division rivals both off to strong starts to the season.
Parkland took its first lead late in the first quarter when Zoey Wilkinson was fouled while shooting a three-pointer and awarded three foul shots. Wilkinson hit all three shots to give the Trojans a 6-4 lead with 2:08 left to play in the first quarter.
The lead was short-lived. Nazareth’s Talya Brugler hit two foul shots and followed that up with a buzzer-beater to give the Blue Eagles a 9-6 lead at the end of the quarter. Nazareth slowly pulled away and led by seven at halftime.
The battle between Brugler and Lindsay Berger went on through the game and the two juniors finished with very similar numbers. Berger held the scoring advantage at 14 to 13, while Brugler out rebounded Berger seven to six.
“That’s a very good matchup,” said Parkland coach Ed Ohlson. “We tried some other girls on her early to give Lindsay a bit of a breather. The plan was to put Lindsay on her in the second half, but we went a little earlier than that. They played pretty even tonight, but I think the supporting cast played a little better for Nazareth.”
Nazareth put together a 7-0 run to open the second half and led by as many as 14 with 4:01 left in the third quarter. Parkland responded by putting together a 5-0 run opening the fourth quarter, but Nazareth shook off the run and hit their foul shots down the stretch to hang on to their lead and remain unbeaten.
“We’ve been talking about adversity since day one, because we know that with a young team, not every game is going to go the way we want it to go,” said Ohlson. “We’ll learn from this and watch some video, I’ll point out some things to them and we’ll get better.”
While Ohlson was happy with the effort that his team put into the game, he admitted that his team also faced a defense that threw off his team’s offensive scheme. At that point, his younger players started to press a little, which led to more mistakes.
Parkland also pressured Nazareth into some turnovers as well and the Blue Eagles were guilty of some bad decisions and ball handling.
“I think their one-three-one bothered us and we made a lot of bad passes,” said Ohlson. “We’re a young team and I think we made some mistakes and our heads went down a little and then we made more mistakes. It was a good learning experience and we’ll figure it out.”
Earlier in the week, Parkland won its fifth straight game with a 38-34 win over Allentown Central Catholic. In that win, Berger was held to just two points in the first quarter, but then turned around her game to finish with a game-high 21 points in the win.
The Lady Trojans host Dunmore Thursday and then go back into EPC play with a home game against Whitehall on Friday before they go into their Christmas and New Year’s break. They return to action on January 2 with a game at Pocono Mountain West.