Boys fall in quarterfinals
The Parkland boys basketball team had a bit of tough luck in its Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinal loss to eventual champion Allen. Twelve days later the Trojans experienced a little more of the same, as they fought and battled, but fell just short, falling to Easton 47-42 in double overtime of their District 11 Class 6A quarterfinal round game last Saturday afternoon at Allen High School.
Defense was the story of the contest for both teams, as each held the other to well below its season averages in scoring. The Red Rovers (17-7 overall), however, scored enough to secure the victory, their first in the district tournament since 2013.
“Easton is a very talented team,” said head coach Andy Stephens. “We were prepared and the kids were locked in. We played really hard. We just made a few mistakes late which hurt us. We needed to make a play late but failed on a couple of attempts. You have to give Easton credit though. They converted when they needed to.”
Parkland (15-10), which led after each of the opening two quarters, went to at halftime ahead 22-15. But the Trojans struggled to find any scoring the rest of the way and were held to just four points in the third quarter and recorded just 20 points over the game’s final 24 minutes.
The score flipped to 26-25 in favor of the Red Rovers heading into the final quarter, and then they led 37-33 with 2:32 left to play. Parkland held Easton scoreless the rest of the way and received a basket by Nick Rappa and two Jared Kucharczuk free-throws to extend the game into overtime.
Jake Melady connected on a three-pointer to put his team up 42-39 in the overtime period. But Easton tied the score to end the first overtime.
In the second OT, the Red Rovers scored the first basket and never gave up their lead in securing the victory.
Parkland fell short of another state tournament appearance, but had a lot of positives to look back on.
“I thought we had a great season and accomplished a lot,” Stephens said. “We gradually improved throughout the season. There were a couple of tough losses that will sting for a little bit, but as a whole our kids have a lot to be proud of. We will miss our seven seniors a lot.”
Senior captains Melady and Kucharczuk led the Trojans with 12 and 10 points respectively. Those two, along with fellow starters Rappa and Dylan Rhoads, and classmates Ja’Lon Perkins, Chris Lessel and Vinny Gerbasio all played their final games in Trojan uniforms.
“Our seniors are great kids and will truly be missed by everyone around the program,” said Stephens. “They are class acts and did everything that we asked of them. They won a lot of games for us and left their marks.”