There were some close calls and some blowouts, games where they could coast, and even a bench-clearing altercation. All of this occurred in a weekend of basketball for Parkland at the SportsFest A-town Throwdown tournament.
The Trojans played the maximum number of games, winning their first six before dropping the seventh, the championship game, on their way to taking second place in the 48-team pool play format.
Unlike three weeks before at the Cedar Beach Bash Showcase tournament, the Parkland girls basketball team had mostly a full roster last weekend at the SportsFest A-town Throwdown tournament at Cedar Beach Park.
That depth in the lineup propelled the Trojans to win four of their five games and advance to Sunday’s playoff bracket before falling to eventual champion Bethlehem Catholic in the quarterfinal round.
Parkland girls basketball head coach Wes Spence has been coaching long enough that he knows what he may or may not get in the form of a roster for games played during the summer. Summer basketball is used to find the identity for the upcoming season, and to get players acclimated to new teammates and the varsity level of play.
It is also a season that sees many of his players participating in other sports, including soccer, lacrosse, or even AAU basketball.
Just like every summer, the Parkland boys basketball team is in transition mode. Having to replace the scoring and overall play of one of the program’s all-time great players in Sam Iorio, the Trojans are implementing more of a guard-oriented look, with the experience and leadership of returning players and upperclassmen Logan Rindock, Jake Bartholomew and Michael Ruisch returning from last winter’s varsity team.
A five-run deficit proved too much to overcome for the North Parkland legion baseball team as the Buffaloes dropped a game to West Allentown last Thursday evening at Orefield Middle School.
The Hawks scored runs in every inning, moving ahead by five runs by the top of the fourth inning and growing their advantage to double digits with a seven-run sixth inning to take a shortened six-inning game, 13-3.
It was a tough two-day stretch for the Buffaloes, who lost to rival South Parkland the night before. North Parkland is 3-6-1 through 10 games.
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.