Parkland Press

Thursday, June 4, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZPaige Spang drives to the basket during last week’s state playoff game against Spring-Ford. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZPaige Spang drives to the basket during last week’s state playoff game against Spring-Ford.

Girls’ season ends in state playoffs

Thursday, March 12, 2020 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

A familiar problem reared its head as the Parkland girls basketball team headed into play in the PIAA Tournament.

That problem was consistent shooting, which hampered the team through parts of the season, especially late in the schedule and into the postseason. The result was a 60-25 loss to Spring-Ford, the fourth-place team from the highly competitive District One.

Midway through the first quarter, Parkland trailed by just two points, but Spring-Ford went on a 9-0 run through the rest of the quarter and held a 15-4 edge. Sophomore Zoe Wilkinson hit a three-pointer in the second quarter that made it a 17-10 game, but another run by the Lady Rams put them up by 18 late in the second quarter and they stretched it to an even 20 points by the half.

Wilkinson led Parkland with 10 points in the game, while Olsen and Emily Tiffan each scored 13 points for Spring-Ford.

“We weren’t making shots and when you play a good team like they are, it makes for a tough night,” said coach Ed Ohlson. “That kind of plagued us through the season and we’ll have to work on getting better there, but overall, it really was a good season.”

Ohlsen thought things looked very good for his team coming into this season. It had finished 16-11 a year earlier and had a good starting core returning to play and young players who had gained valuable experience. The Trojans quickly lost three players when one starter left to focus on another sport and seniors Mia Coval and Ashlyn Fritzinger suffered season-ending with injuries.

Suddenly, Ohlsen was scrambling to prepare young players to not just get a big number of minutes off the bench, but also to play as varsity starters for the first time.

“When you look back at where we were at that point,” he said, “we probably would have had a difficult time making a case for us to make it to states. That’s why I believe that overall it was a very good season for us.

“We had girls make a lot of progress and they all worked very hard to improve.”

After the injuries, Lindsay Berger was the most experienced player on the active roster as a junior. With the progress of younger players developing around Berger, Parkland was able to put together a good run that took them into the postseason.

Marissa Olenwine, Sonya Shivok and Ashley Young joined Wilkinson as being key parts of the lineup. Another young player, Carissa Foght, became a force as well, but she went down with an injury late in the year, opening another hole.

“All of those girls really progressed this season and Shivok may have shown the most improvement, especially offensively,” Ohlson said. “She had back-to-back points where she scored 15 and 16 points and that took some of the pressure off Berger.”

With a second straight 16-11 season, Ohlsen is in some ways back to where he was last year at this time. He’s got a team returning next season that will have some senior leadership, with other younger players who have some valuable experience.

If the younger players and the ones coming up behind them continue to progress as they did this season, Ohlsen may be able to stick to his original plan for next season.

“I’ve learned that one thing that you can’t control is injuries,” said Ohlson. “You just have to work with who you have and we saw this season that we have a number of girls ready to put in the work that they need to put in to make us even better next season. If you look at our losses this season, nine of them were against teams that made it to states, so we had a tough schedule with a lot of young players. We can be proud of that.”