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Boys go 3-2 over seven days

The Parkland boys basketball team had the season’s busiest and longest stretch of games conclude with a victory. The Trojans played five games in a span of seven days and ended the rough stretch 3-2 after a 43-28 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference win over Pleasant Valley last Tuesday night at Parkland High School.

Parkland (10-5 overall, 7-3 EPC) fell to Freedom on Tuesday, Jan. 7, then defeated Notre Dame (Green Pond) the following night and Dieruff two nights later. The Trojans were taken down by Lower Merion on Sunday before they were victorious over the Bears two nights later.

Against Pleasant Valley Tuesday, neither team had any success on offense, as the two teams went into the locker rooms at halftime with a combined 33 points. Parkland led 17-16 after both teams scored just 11 points total in the second quarter.

The Trojans outscored the Bears 15-7 in the third quarter and led 32-23 after three to take control of the game. The Parkland defense allowed just two field goals and created difficult looks for Pleasant Valley that it did not see in the first half.

“We definitely picked up our intensity in the second half,” said senior Jared Kucharczuk. “We came out a little bit slow in the first half. But we started working the ball into the post with our big men because that’s where we had the advantage. When we got them going that opened up a lot of our other offense.”

Dylan Rhoads led the way with a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds, just missing a double-double. Nick Rappa tallied eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Jake Melady recorded six points, all at the free-throw line, finishing 6-for-6. Trey Rolle added seven points, three rebounds and two assists.

Against the Aces on Sunday, the Trojans battled against a perennial state power, but fell short, as Lower Merion had just a little more size and athleticism to outlast Parkland.

“They were a really good team,” Kucharczuk said. “We started off really slow and that didn’t help us, especially scoring wise. They played well. They had open shots and hit them. They had some good athletes all over the court.”

Kucharzcuk, along with his senior classmates and fellow starters Melady, Rappa and Rhoads have been leaders for this year’s team and the more experienced of the group.

“We just try to keep our guys together,” said Kucharczuk. “We’ve had a couple of losses lately, but we just want to make sure the guys stay motivated and keep working hard. We know what we can accomplish as a team so we want to keep the energy level high.”

Parkland hosts Easton on Friday night for Youth Night before taking on rival Emmaus on the road next Tuesday.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBDylan Rhoads scored 15 points in Tuesday's win over Pleasant Valley. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_