Before the start of the 2014-15 season, coaches, media and fans alike believed that the Parkland boys basketball team was the clear favorite in the new Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
The Trojans followed up those high expectations by winning all 16 of their games in the EPC regular season. They grabbed a pair of EPC tournament wins to the league title game, all while taking the best shot from each opponent.
The Parkland boys basketball team has had a successful run as of late. The Trojans are the two-time defending District 11 Class AAAA champions, and are favorites to bring home a third straight in two weeks.
But even with the good teams, and the district titles, Parkland could not get over the conference tournament hump.
After not winning a title in the 12-season history of the Lehigh Valley Conference despite five appearances in the championship game, the 2015 Parkland squad wouldn't be denied.
The Parkland ice hockey team had size in numbers, and used that as an edge. Freedom just did not have the numbers to throw out onto the ice at the Trojans.
With nine healthy skaters, including their goalie, the Patriots could not even rotate two full shifts.
Even with those low numbers, Freedom (5-10 overall) kept the game close until the last half of the final period.
Trailing just 2-1 midway through the third period, all of those minutes of ice time may have finally caught up to the Patriots.
The Parkland boys basketball team has dominated the East Penn Conference this season. The Trojans are undefeated in the conference and have won 12 of their 13 league games by double digits.
But for the first 16 minutes of last Friday night's game against Emmaus, Parkland looked beatable.
That didn't last long.
Parkland (18-1 overall, 13-0 East Penn Conference) showed its might and took another double digit win, 72-49 over Emmaus last Friday night at Parkland high school.
It seemed like déjà vu for the Parkland wrestling team last weekend at the District 11 team dual meet at Freedom High School.
Nearly a month ago the Trojans were beaten by Bethlehem Catholic 51-3. Then, after a first round victory over Bangor on Thursday in the second round of the Distric 11 Duals, Parkland met the Hawks again. But it was the same result, a lopsided loss by the Trojans, 58-3.
Austin Beidelman was used to being the go-to guy on his high school basketball team. He was counted on to take the last shot his junior and senior seasons, and finished each season as the leading scorer for Parkland.
But as he left high school behind and went on to play at Division II Kutztown University, Beidelman was not depended on to take 20 shots a game, or even the last one for that matter.
For most of their East Penn Conference contests this season, the Parkland boys basketball team has put away their opponents early on and held large leads by halftime which allowed head coach Andy Stephens to cruise through the final parts of the games.
But last Friday night against Northampton, the Trojans struggled to put away the Kids, before a fourth-quarter surge gave Parkland the 63-41 win on senior night at Parkland High School to remain undefeated in the East Penn Conference.
For a better part of the season, the Parkland boys basketball team has had several different players score in double figures in each game. No one has been quite as consistent at that as junior guard Devante Cross.
Cross has led the team in scoring for more than half of its games. But last Friday night, the Trojans showed just how good they really are, with Cross being the distributor in a 65-36 win against Nazareth at Parkland High School.
A pin is the highest scoring win that a wrestler can achieve from a match as it earns his team bonus points. Those points add up and usually determine which team wins the match.
Two straight pins from Dan Oberle (182 pounds) and Tom Alcaro (195) put Emmaus in front of Parkland for the first time all night with two bouts remaining last Wednesday at Parkland High School.
Parkland kept up it's roll through Eastern Pennsylvania Conference teams last Friday night at Parkland High School. Not only did the Trojans cruise to an 87-32 victory over Freedom to stay undefeated in the EPC, but each and every player had a hand in the win by scoring at least two points.