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Trojans fall in summer league semi

It was less than month ago that the Parkland High School boys basketball team won its first championship of the summer, coming in first place in the Bash at the Beach Tournament in late June.

Looking for its second title in as many months, the Trojans squared off with a challenging opponent, the defending PIAA Class 6A state champions Reading, in the semifinals of the Lehigh Valley Summer League last Thursday evening at Cedar Beach.

Parkland was the two seed, earning a bye into the semifinals, but fell to the third-seeded Red Knights 58-49. The loss snaps a six-game win streak for the Trojans, who finished 10-2 in the regular standings.

“I thought that the last month or so was great for the program,” said Parkland head coach Andy Stephens. “We won a lot of games, but overall the guys got better and gained some valuable experience playing in a lot of important games. That will certainly help us when the season comes around this winter.”

The hope for every summer basketball offseason is to not only get better as a team overall, but for younger, more inexperienced players to show what they can do in front of their coaching staffs. Parkland has had a mixture of experience and youth that have stepped up and led them in games this summer.

Returning starters such as Will Meeker and Nick Coval, along with newcomers in Kharan Joshi have all taken their turns and led their team in scoring and also led on the defensive side of the ball as well.

“Will and Nick have been there and played in some big games for us last year,” Stephens said. “They know what is expected and we know what they will bring. It’s been a great summer for them. Kharan has been a nice surprise and is really impressing us as a player. He is showing what he can do and is giving himself the opportunity to earn some minutes now and during the season.”

Parkland still has a chance at winning a second summer title. The A-town Throwdown event, formally known as SportsFest, takes place this weekend and is the last summer tournament and competition of the year.

The Trojans open up play on Friday night at 9 p.m., against Central Bucks West.

Their next two games in round robin play is on Saturday, beginning with a game at 4 p.m., against Octorara and then a matchup with St. John V at 7 p.m. If they finish on top of the division they will advance to the playoffs on Sunday.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Parkland's Jesse Ruisch dribbles around a Reading defender during the summer league playoffs last week at Cedar Beach.