On a blustery Tuesday night in a somewhat empty gym, the Parkland and Freedom boys basketball teams shooting was nearly as cold as the weather outside the gym.
The Trojans shot 38 percent from the field, but overcame a 20-for-53 effort with a couple of big plays, and defense in taking down the Patriots last Tuesday night 61-45 at Freedom High School.
Frank Guida’s bout against Northampton was as crucial as any for Parkland. After Northampton picked up a pin at 160 pounds, the Trojans found themselves clinging to a 28-21 lead with three bouts to go.
Guida, wrestling at 170, found himself trailing 9-8 after Cade Moisey earned an escape in the third period. But that’s when Guida kicked in with another gear.
With 16 divers from Parkland competing in the EPC Diving Meet last weekend at Emmaus High School, the Trojans had, by far, the largest contingent. No other school had more than four divers entered in the competition, which consisted of 11 dives by each competitor.
When the day was done, Parkland came away with first place finishes on both the boys and girls side of the event. Kelsey German finished with a score of 414.65 to take the girls competition, while Chris Lehman finished with a score of 435.30 for the boys.
Resiliency is a word that has highlighted much of the 2015 season for the Parkland football team.
Heading into the year, the Trojans were favorites to run through the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11.
And they did just that.
But the script wasn’t always so easily written.
Parkland finished the year 14-2, and was four points away from winning its first PIAA Class AAAA state championship since 2002 when it beat Woodland Hills 34-12.
As the final quarter of the 2015 high school football season got underway, Parkland looked to be dead in the water.
The Trojans’ powerful offense, which failed to get on the scoreboard for the first 36 minutes, struggled to gain any rhythm in the first half. When Parkland’s offense was able to move the ball in the third quarter, it still failed to produce any points. Pittsburgh Central Catholic’s defense lived up to all of the pregame hype.
But then there was a spark. And that spark turned into a offensive snowball for Parkland.
Several Parkland High School graduates played on college teams last fall.
The Northwestern University field hockey team once again qualified for the Big Ten tournament, but unfortunately came up short against Maryland. One of the main pieces in that team was senior defender Kelley Stump, who played in all of the Wildcats’ games and made 17 starts. She scored twice this past season and finishes her career with 12 goals and four assists.
Coming out of a timeout down 46-45 with roughly a minute remaining, the play wasn’t necessarily set for Parkland’s Nadine Ewald. But when the Lady Trojans had an opportunity to feed it inside to their top player, they weren’t going to shy away from it.
Emily Piston set up Ewald on the left block, and after a move into the paint, Ewald gave the Trojans a one-point lead with 39 seconds to play in a fourth quarter that saw Central Catholic lead up until that bucket.
The Parkland boys basketball program wants more. The Trojans know they will be judged by who they beat outside of the Lehigh Valley in their quest for a 2016 PIAA state title. The problem over the past couple of seasons hasn’t been winning games in District 11. It has been the teams Parkland faces outside the league and district that have been stumbling blocks.
So in 2015-16 head coach Andy Stephens beefed up the schedule and added some high-profile matchups to help build his team’s resume and give it the experience of high-caliber basketball before March.
The past year has had some interesting outdoor notables. Here are a few of those stories.
We most recently wrote that the Pennsylvania Game Commission has once again installed an improved live Eagle Cam at a bald eagle nest site in Hanover, York County.
It is nature watching at its best. It’s a live video feed that can be enjoyed on your computer while sipping a coffee in the comforts of your home.
The Parkland ice hockey team heads into the Christmas break with a 9-0-1 record in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League.
Several Parkland players are among the league’s scoring leaders as Evan Dratch (18 goals, 15 assists) is second in the league with 33 points. Teammate Eric Johannes has 12 goals and 11 assists and is fifth in the league with 23 points. Parkland’s Charlie Rongo (9 goals, 11 assists) and Jake Nimeh (8 goals, 11 assists) are also among the league’s top 10.