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.
The Northampton Konkrete Kids did what other teams haven’t been able to do this season: keep Claire Courter from putting up a pile of points in a game. The Kids defense held Courter to just four points and took a 43-40 win over the Lady Trojans Tuesday night at Parkland High School.
Victoria Keenan led all scorers with 18 points, while teammate Jenna Rogers scored 13 for Northampton (4-1 overall, 3-0 EPC).
Ed Ohlson has a perfect record so far as a girls basketball coach. The longtime boys coach who took over the Parkland girls program this year has the Lady Trojans off to a 2-0 start with wins over Harrisburg and Emmaus. Now is when things get a little tougher with games against Central Catholic, Central Dauphin East and Northampton in the next week.
Ed Ohlson is no stranger to a basketball court. He’s served as the head coach at Northampton and held assistant coaching duties at Bethlehem Catholic, Central Catholic, Dieruff, Liberty, Parkland and Salisbury. When he looks out on a basketball court, he’s used to seeing young men run up and down the court, playing an athletic, up-tempo style. After all, he’s only ever coached boys high school basketball, including serving under Rich Fatzinger at Parkland where he was part of the staff on the 2004 team that went to the PIAA Class 4A championship game.
After nine seasons with Wes Spence leading the Parkland girls team, the 2018-2019 season brings a change at the top.
When Spence stepped down last April after a 16-9 season and Ed Ohlson was hired to coach the team, bringing years of basketball coaching experience with him. That begs the question as to just how much the style of play will change and how will the players react to the changes?