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Trojans have eyes on championships

It’s been four years since the last time the Parkland High School boys basketball team has won either an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference or District 11 championship. The Trojans have had the teams to do it and have qualified for both postseason tournaments the last three years, but have fallen just short of their goals.

Last season, Parkland was defeated in the EPC semifinals to eventual champion Allen, and then lost to Easton in the district quarterfinal round. The Trojans finished the year 15-10 overall, 11-5 in the EPC, claiming first place in the EPC Skyline Division.

Four of the top five scorers from last year’s squad have graduated, so there will be plenty of minutes to fill for head coach Andy Stephens this season. Senior point guard Trey Rolle is back and will once again be relied upon to run the show on offense, having started at lead guard the last two seasons. Classmate J.T. Siggins also saw extensive time on varsity as a junior.

Some key newcomers that will all be in the mix for playing time include seniors Jordan Lewis and Jake McLean, juniors Blake Barthol, Will Meeker, Matt Rantz and Matt Bauer, along with freshman Nick Coval.

Other members of the roster include seniors Mason Bergstein and Jesshawn Thomas, and juniors Jesse Ruisch, Kharan Joshi, Dahlir Adams and Ty Tremba.

“It’s a great group of kids,” said Stephens, who is in his 13th year leading the program. “They work hard and are unselfish. They are eager to play and show people what they can do.”

The Trojans were able to meet for open gyms starting in September, and have held some practices this winter. The regular season was originally planned to begin on December 15, but the EPC announced that it would be delayed one month.

Stephens and his team is just hoping to be able to play some games this year.

“They were just real simple workouts, just to get the kids out and doing something,” said Stephens. “Chemistry is a big thing in the offseason. When we play in the summer tournaments, I don’t even bring a whiteboard. It’s all about getting the kids together and seeing who can do what. We haven’t done any of our normal strength and conditioning. There are so many things we haven’t done.

“We are limited in what we can do. So, I tell the kids to be appreciative of whatever they can get and keep our fingers crossed and pray we have a season.

“We’ll follow the rules, but I want our kids to get as many games as possible. I hope they have a season.”

Parkland will be in a division with Allen, Dieruff, Central Catholic, Emmaus and Whitehall.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Trey Rolle returns as Parkland's point guard this season. The East Penn Conference will begin its league schedule in mid-January.