Girls endure busy early schedule
After the stretch that the Parkland girls basketball team has had to start the season, a little rest and relaxation might not be a bad thing.
The team started with tough games against Central Dauphin and defending state champion Bethlehem Catholic. From there, a win over Emmaus came before a Parkland (2-1 EPC, 2-4 overall) trip to Orlando to play three games in three days against top competition from around the country. The day after they arrived home, they had to host Whitehall (0-3, 1-4).
In case you’re counting, once the season started on December 9, Parkland played seven games in 14 days. It would have been eight, but a game against Stroudsburg was snowed out. Add into that two travel days to get to Orlando and back, and there simply hasn’t been much down time.
“It’s very much been go-go-go with very little preparation time and time to polish some mistakes that you’d like to fix in practice,” said Trojan head coach Wes Spence. “It’s going to be very nice – knock on wood – to get into a regular routine come January and get to do those things and have a normal schedule.”
On the plus side, the busy schedule against tough competition has gotten young players the opportunity to learn quickly and do so while playing against competitive teams.
Perhaps the Trojan player who has benefited most from the early schedule is Lindsay Berger. The freshman has averaged just over eight points per game against EPC opponents and hit Whitehall for 12 points in a 46-25 win.
Parkland had some players get into early foul trouble against Whitehall, with both Julia Buchman and Claire Courter picking up three fouls in the first half. Buchman got a fourth foul a little more than two minutes into the second half and was confined to the bench for much of the game after that.
“She’s doing a nice job,” said Spence. “She’s not trying to do too much and she’s playing within her role and learning every day and we’re very happy with how she’s progressing. We’re really happy with her progression and how she’s gotten used to playing varsity basketball. We’re just seeing her get more comfortable and get a feel for what we’re doing. It’s a big jump to go from freshman basketball last year to varsity this year.”
Overall, Spence is happy with what he’s seen on the court, but admits that there are things he would love to be working on in a practice setting rather than in games. Time constraints have made that difficult to do. Spence pointed out that he would like his team to have more consistent stretches of strong basketball, cut down on turnovers and do a better job rebounding to cut down on opponents getting second chances.
“I think it’s tough to play good team defense and then give them another shot, because you expend a lot of energy to make the first one as tough as you can and then you give them a second one,” said Spence. “Typically, on those second ones, breakdowns happen and they become easier shots.
“I think we move the ball pretty well and work for good shots, and we’re getting a lot of production from a number of our players. I’m happy with the progress and I think we’re a better team now than we were two-and-a-half weeks ago, which is good.”
There’s good news and bad news for the Lady Trojans. The good news is that they’re off until after the New Year, so they can get some rest and put in some practice time on the court until they have to face competition again. The bad news is that their next game is at Northampton (4-0, 6-0) on January 3. After hosting Liberty (0-4, 0-6) on Jan. 5, Parkland plays at Central Catholic (3-1, 4-2) Tuesday, Jan. 9 .