Nazareth tops Lady Trojans
Friday night was just one of those nights for the Parkland girls basketball team.
The Trojans traveled to Nazareth High School with a number of players under the weather and others who were just worn out physically. The result was that the longer the game went, the more worn down the Lady Trojans became, allowing the Blue Eagles to pull away from them for a 43-32 win in the quarterfinals of the EPC tournament.
The two teams had just met four days earlier and battled through a double-overtime game that Parkland came away from with a key win to end the regular season schedule.
Parkland had worked its way to a four-point lead Friday when Zoe Wilkinson nailed a three-pointer with 5:36 left in the second quarter to make it 12-8 in favor of the Trojans. Nazareth battled right back and tied the game, eventually opening a three-point lead that Parkland cut to 15-14 by the end of the half.
Marissa Olenwine opened the scoring in the second half to switch the lead back to Parkland, but the Lady Trojans would go into a shooting slump that saw them go nearly seven-minutes without a basket. Over that span, Nazareth put together a 13-0 run before Ashley Young hit for Parkland to make it a 28-18 deficit after three quarters.
“The game went pretty much how we expected in the first half and we came out with that quick basket, but then we just lost our shooting and couldn’t keep cutting into the deficit,” said coach Ed Ohlson. “You have to hand it to them because they played hard the whole game and did what they needed to do.”
Sonya Shivok hit two foul shots and on the next trip down the court, hit a jumper to pull Parkland to within six points. The Blue Eagles hit fouls shots down the stretch, going 11-for-12 from the free throw line to put away the win.
“I liked the way we battled back in the third quarter and we never quit playing hard,” Ohlson said. “We just have a lot of girls who are sick and a bunch who are really tired.
“That’s not an excuse at all, it’s just the situation we faced and we weren’t able to make it all the way back.”
Much like the game on Monday night, the lead bounced back-and-forth, changing hands five times from late in the first quarter until midway through the third quarter when Nazareth’s Talya Brugler drove the lane to put Nazareth up 18-16.
From that point on, the Blue Eagles didn’t cough up the lead and stretched it to a 12-point lead by the end of the third quarter.
“As we were working our way back, Brugler got really hot and like she’s always capable of doing, she helped to carry the team from that point,” said Ohlson. Brugler finished the night with a game-high 22 points, including 10 in the third quarter. Shivok had a team-high 13 points for Parkland.
One of the players most affected by the illness that has been going through the team is Lindsay Berger, who is fifth in the EPC with a 15-points-per-game average this season. Parkland is also without Carisa Foght, who is lost for the season with an injury.
“The fact that Lindsay even wanted to play tonight was phenomenal,” said Ohlson. “She’s really sick and could have sat it out, but she wanted to be out there for us and she gave it all she had. Without Carisa, we have had players step up and fill into new roles for us and we’re fortunate for that, but there’s no doubt we miss Carisa.”
Parkland will now be off until the District 11 playoffs begin later this month. Hopefully, the time away will help them get healthy and rejuvenated.
“We can use this time to rest a little and work some girls into the roles that they’ll have to play without Carisa on the floor for us,” said Ohlson. “We’ll put the time to good use.”