Maybe a little pressure was all the Lady Trojans needed to get back into a winning mode.
Needing a win in their season finale against Northampton to reach the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs, they downed the Konkrete Kids 44-36. The sixth-seeded Trojans then had to travel to Stroudsburg Monday night to face the third-seeded Mounties and they pulled off a 45-39 win to advance to the semifinals of the EPC Tournament.
The Parkland girls basketball team is finishing its season the way it started, with a tough schedule. While the end isn’t quite as daunting as opening with Central Dauphin and defending state champion Bethlehem Catholic in back-to-back games, it’s certainly not easy.
Parkland took care of a tough Central Dauphin East team before a 46-35 loss to Nazareth last week. Games against Whitehall and Cumberland Valley went Parkland’s way, but the final two games on the schedule are games against Allen and Northampton.
The Nazareth girls basketball team is hot team right now, having won four of its last five games. Unfortunately for Parkland, the first and the latest of those wins have come against the Trojans (9-4 EPC, 11-7 overall). After falling to Nazareth 42-40 in their first meeting, Nazareth (9-4, 13-6) downed Parkland 46-35 on Tuesday night.
“They’re a good team and they kept us from doing some of the things that we wanted to do against them,” said Parkland head coach Wes Spence. “They changed up their defense at times and I wasn’t able to get us into a position to win the game.”
The good news for Nazareth is that it beat Parkland 42-40 late last week in a key Eastern Pennsylvania Conference matchup. The bad news for Nazareth is that Parkland now has the Blue Eagles marked on their schedule for when the two teams meet in a rematch.
The Sanctuary at Haafsville is in the midst of a campaign to raise funds to complete the new building at the facility along Nestle Way in Breinigsville.
The campaign got a shot in the arm recently when Rick Beuttel, the director of business development for Air Products, was on-hand to present Liz Jones, the Sanctuary’s executive director, with a check for $5,000.
The money came from an award given to Beuttel, for his work with the company, and was earmarked for a local charity, left to his discretion.
The Phantoms reached the halfway point of their season with what Phil Varone called an “embarrassing” performance in a 6-2 loss to Springfield Saturday night. Lehigh Valley came out with a good first period, but that was about all it was able to put together as the Thunderbirds scored four unanswered goals to waltz out of the PPL Center with a win.
Varone scored his 100th career AHL goal in the game, but was more focused on the weak effort that the team put on the ice.
The final three weeks of the regular season are going to be very interesting in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference girls basketball.
There are three teams – Bethlehem Catholic (5-1 EPC, 9-2 overall), Easton (7-1, 11-2) and Parkland (7-1, 8-4) – with just one conference loss and four others – Allen (4-2, 8-2), Freedom (6-2, 10-2), Northampton (6-2, 9-3) and Stroudsburg (6-2, 9-3) – with just two losses.
Keeley Coval has been on coach Wes Spence’s radar for some time, but she had to wait her turn to truly step into the spotlight because of talented point guards like Rachel Medlar who were ahead of her on the depth chart.
Medlar graduated last season and Coval took over the role full-time this season, just as Spence had envisioned her doing since he first saw her as a much younger player.
The annual New Year’s Challenge was held last Saturday at Bucknell University and the Parkland girls team swam its way to a third-place finish, while the boys team finished seventh.
The girls finished behind Wilson West Lawn and Hershey in the competition. Wilson West Lawn was also crowned the top boys team at the meet.
Goaltender Alex Lyon earned the win in goal as he returned to the Lehigh Valley crease for the first time since Dec. 1 after spending most of the month with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The key to Lyon’s success may have been the overall sharp play of the Phantoms’ defense, which held the AHL’s second-highest scoring offense to just 29 shots, 28 of which were turned away by Lyon in Lehigh Valley’s 3-1 win against the Charlotte Checkers.