For some teams, reaching the Stellar Catch A Rising Star Showcase tournament championship game is a long and grueling road with multiple games played in the heat. However, for teams that keep winning, it can be a breeze.
Last weekend at Cedar Beach Park, the Parkland girls basketball team needed to play just four games to reach the Sunday evening title game. The team went on to win its fifth and most important game, the final.
It had never happened before during the history of the premier summer league tournament, and the Parkland boys basketball program fell one win shy of becoming the first team to repeat as champions of the 20th annual Stellar Catch A Rising Star Showcase tournament last weekend at Cedar Beach Park.
Down two starters all weekend (Kyle Stout had an injured ankle and Sam Iorio was at an AAU tournament in Massachusetts), the Trojans won all of their games before dropping the final 54-45 to Archbishop Carroll on Sunday night.
Kyle Stout and Jake Bartholomew each connected twice from long range, and the Parkland boys basketball held on to defeat Liberty 50-46 for their second win in two straight games last Thursday night at Cedar Beach. The double-header saw the Trojans take down Emmaus in the first game, 67-52, during the last night of the regular season.
The Parkland baseball team is like a close family. The program has seen many of their former players go on to play at the next level in college. And in 2015, three former Trojans battled for the same league trophy at the NCAA Division II level.
Junior Nick Rabasco (East Stroudsburg University), sophomore Damin Muth (Bloomsburg University), and freshman Gabe Mosser (Shippensburg University) competed in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Rising sophomore Jake Bartholomew had an opportunity. Missing three starters because of prior commitments, Bartholomew was thrust into the starting lineup, and did not disappoint his coaches and teammates.
Bartholomew took the initiative and knocked down open shots and created offense off a zone defense, helping Parkland hold onto a 56-46 win against Nazareth last Thursday night at Whitehall High School.
Bartholomew tallied 12 of his 17 points in a second half where every point was crucial.
It had only happened one other time this season, but this one ended the year for Parkland.
The Trojans had gotten the better of 27 out of 28 opponents heading into the PIAA Class AAAA semifinal game on June 9. But they came up short for just the second time, ending their season.
Wyoming Valley West got a solid outing from starting pitcher Bill Gregory, who shut down Parkland's bats in a 5-1 at Pine Grove's Stump Stadium.
Early on in the summer, the boys basketball landscape looks nothing like what it will in mid-July, leading up to the winter season. With the Stellar and Sportsfest tournaments, and summer league playoffs, games heat up and teams usually will have their entire teams, including the head coaches.
During the regular season summer league games, players are involved in other things like vacations or AAU games.
The Parkland baseball team lost for just the second time this year when it fell last Tuesday in the PIAA semifinals, 5-1 against Wyoming Valley West. It was disappointing for the players and coaches because they had come a long way, making it past the first round of states for the first time in this three-year District 11 championship run.
On the whole, the Trojans finished 2015 at 27-2, which is the most wins in program history. That says something, for a program that has won a lot of games the last couple of seasons.
It was the matchup they wanted since an early-season loss in April, but the outcome was the same.
Undefeated Southern Lehigh once again got the better of Parkland, this time in the District 11 final. The Spartans defeated the Trojans 9-7 last Thursday at Emmaus High School.
"They are a well-coached team," said first year head coach Dawn Cipolla. "They have a lot of speed. Their goalie and defense played great."
Saying that the 2015 season was supposed to go a little differently for the Parkland boys lacrosse team is an understatement.
The Trojans fell to Easton 9-6 in the East Penn Conference title game, falling short of winning their third straight league title. Then less than a week later, Parkland was upset in the District 11 quarterfinals by Central Catholic.
"It was frustrating because I thought that we had the most talented team in the conference," said Parkland head coach Brad Schifko. "We lost some guys last year to graduation, and we were a young team still this year."