Summer basketball is about adjusting a system to new players and developing for the upcoming winter season. There hasn’t been a more important summer in recent years than this one for the Parkland boys basketball program, which graduated three starting seniors including Zach Bross, Michael Zeky and the school’s all-time leading scorer Sam Iorio, who was a four-year starter.
For the first time, the Parkland girls lacrosse team will be entering the season looking to defend two titles.
The Trojans won a district title in 2014, but last season the Trojans won both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 championships. It was the third straight season that they reached the district final.
Six starters graduated from last year’s team that finished 17-6 overall, and they were a big part of bringing the program to the top of the league and district over the course of their careers.
The Parkland boys volleyball program has seen a ton of success the last few years, bringing multiple Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 championships into the trophy cases. The Trojans also won the PIAA state title in 2015, while falling just short last year to eventual champion Hempfield in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
The Parkland boys lacrosse team finished one win shy of a District 11 championship a year ago, going 15-7 overall and winning the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference West Division.
The Trojans have the pieces returning to get back to the title game in 2017. It will all start up front, with experience coming back in some pivotal offensive positions.
Sometimes athletes benefit from waiting their turns and learning from older players. That was exactly the case with Parkland senior volleyball players Sam Graver and Morgan Sherwin. During their four-year high school careers, the two Trojans were a part of teams that won districts four times and were state champions twice.
But up until this past season, Graver and Sherwin were role players, contributing in any way they could. In 2016, the evolved into much more more than just role players.
Not all decisions work out in one’s favor, but the college choice for Moravian College freshman Nadine Ewald has been a good one for the 2016 Parkland High School graduate.
Ewald has found a second home in Bethlehem, and a second family in the women’s basketball team.
“My first semester of college was awesome,” said Ewald. “The transition wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be because I had a lot of help from my teammates and coaches. The coaches made sure we were at study hall doing our work, so in the future we know how to balance classes and basketball.”
The 2016-17 basketball season has been different than past years for Kutztown University senior guard Austin Beidelman. The 2013 Parkland High School graduate arrived on the Berks County campus and was immediately inserted into the Golden Bears’ lineup.
During his first three years in the program, Beidelman started in 81 of the 84 games he played.
But this year, his senior season, that hasn’t been the case. And, like a good teammate would, he accepted the change and adapted to what was asked of him.
Kyle Stout played his final basketball game on the high school level in a PIAA state quarterfinal loss to the eventual state champion Roman Catholic.
The 2016 Parkland graduate was a four-time district champion as a member of the Trojans program, and just eight months after squaring off against the Cahillites, Stout and his Lafayette team stood across the court from the reigning National Champions in the Villanova Wildcats, fresh off a stunning championship.
It has been a different type of season thus far for the Parkland boys basketball team. A program that is used to being on top of the standings has started 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, which is good for fifth place in the Skyline Division out of six teams.
But the basketball regular season ends in early February, not in January, and the Trojans have time to figure things out and add some more victories to their resume.
After all, the five-time defending District 11 champions lost the core of their team after last year, including four starters.
Hannah Gombos found the back of the net with frequency during her playing days at Parkland High School. The 2013 graduate was the leading scorer her last two years on a Trojans team that won two Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11 championships.
The expectation was that she was going to provide the same scoring punch during her career at East Stroudsburg University, but those plans changed in year two on campus.