The Parkland Lady Trojans saw their season come to an end with a 56-34 loss to Abington in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament last Friday night.
The Galloping Ghosts (23-4) moved on to the second round of the tournament where they defeated Cumberland Valley 52-48 and will now play Upper Dublin in the quarterfinals on Friday.
When you reach the PIAA basketball tournament, you know you’re going to be playing against good teams. For Parkland’s girls team, its first-round draw is especially tough as the Trojans have to play the Abington Heights Galloping Ghosts (24-4), the third-place team from a tough District One.
The easiest way to stop the Ghosts is to stop Kassondra Brown, their 6-foot-2 center who is headed to the University of Rhode Island. Brown is a force both offensively and defensively, averaging 18 points per game and 13 rebounds per game this season.
Ed Ohlson is never the kind to duck the media after a bad game. With that being said, he admittedly wasn’t looking forward to reliving the events that led his team to a 60-47 loss in the District 11 Class 6A semifinal game against Northampton. It was one of those nights where things just didn’t go well for Parkland and the game quickly slowly slid away from the Trojans.
At this time of the basketball season, you can look back and see exactly how a team came to be ranked where they are headed into the District 11 playoffs. If you look at Parkland’s spot as a four-seed in girls Class 6A basketball and look just below them, you see the Lady Bears of Pleasant Valley. The two teams met during the regular season in a game that was moved up a day to avoid a forecast that called for bad weather and was moved to Orefield Middle School and Parkland came away with a 55-40 win.
Parkland’s size has come in very handy at many points during the girls basketball season. The Trojans also have good enough team speed that they can play with most teams that prefer to run an up-tempo style.
But Parkland struggled against the aggressive, fast-paced style that Freedom showed them in the first round of the East Penn Conference playoffs. Ironically though, the turning point involved a strong outside game from a player coming off the bench, which sent Parkland to a 40-30 loss to Freedom, eliminating the Lady Trojans from the EPC playoffs.
It’s not easy to beat Northampton. The game plan is to contain two of the top players in the Lehigh Valley in Jenna Rogers and Victoria Keenan.
How good are the two players? They’re both seniors and 1,000-point scorers. With that in mind, Parkland coach Ed Ohlson tasked freshman Kaz Kennedy with guarding Keenan.
“We’re just starting to see what she is capable of,” said Ohlson of his freshman. “They say ‘the sky is the limit.’ Her ceiling is pretty, pretty high. I can’t tell you how hard she works.”
It’s tough to win a game when not one, but two opposing players score 20 or more points. That’s what happened to the Lady Trojans Monday night in a game that was postponed from earlier this month against Southern Lehigh.
The Lady Spartans (15-3 overall, 12-1 Colonial) are the team to beat in the Colonial League and have shown all season that they can battle with the best teams from any league or any classification.
With a 45-37 overtime win against Nazareth Tuesday night, Parkland has now picked up big wins over teams it could see again in the postseason. The win over the Blue Eagles followed a convincing 55-40 win over Pleasant Valley last week. The win over Pleasant Valley was important for seeding both in the East Penn Conference and District 11 tournaments.
“Sometimes, it’s the players that don’t start that make the ones who do [start] good.”
That’s how Parkland girls basketball coach Ed Ohlson looks at senior Kendra Yeboah. His rationale is that the hard work Yeboah puts in during practice, going up against fellow senior Kassidy Stout “gives Kass everything she can handle in practice and that makes Kass better and that’s why we appreciate what [Yeboah] does.”
The erratic schedule for teams over the Christmas and New Year holidays can throw some teams off. Normally, the Parkland girls (8-3 overall, 5-2 EPC) are playing in a tournament or even taking a trip out of state to get games in and stay sharp, but with a coaching change coming during the offseason, there wasn’t time to find a spot to play.
So, Ed Ohlson used the time to run his team through practices and work on a few things that he noticed during the early part of the season.