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Parkland beats PMW's slow-down strategy

Pocono Mountain West head coach Brad Pensyl must have watched game tape on the latest Parkland-Whitehall basketball game.

The Panthers (14-10) used a similar approach to the slow-down tempo that the Zephyrs tried against the Trojans to keep the scoring down and remain in the contest.

There was a point in the game where the Panthers were satisfied dribbling uncontested near half court just to eat up the clock. But Parkland (25-1) used what it was given and efficiently scored, holding PM West in check for a 38-30 win in the quarterfinals of the District 11 Class AAAA tournament last Saturday afternoon at Easton Area Middle School.

The Panthers have been known for being a high-scoring team in years past, but it caught the Trojans off guard with their tactic.

"It even started from the beginning of the game," said Trojan sophomore forward Sam Iorio. "After we made a layup they were just content holding the ball. We weren't really sure what to do so we held back on defense, but then coach [Andy Stephens] wanted us to start putting pressure on the ball."

Parkland had not played since the East Penn Conference title game on Feb. 13. And the team did not get much of a chance to run and gun on Saturday, it's first game in eight days.

"It was frustrating because that's not our game," siad Iorio. "Especially after having a week off. We just wanted to push the ball and score. But that's the way they thought they could win."

The final score showed that it was a close game, but the Trojans were never really in danger of losing.

Stephens said after the game that he was expecting something different, but not quite as much of a stall-ball game as his team got.

Parkland stretched an early 7-5 lead to 19-7 on three three-pointers early in the second quarter. Kyle Stout (11 points) hit two and Iorio (11 points) had the other early in the second quarter, but the Panthers later got back to within 24-17 on a breakaway dunk by Isaiah Wiggins with 5:30 left until halftime.

Pocono Mountain West had two possessions to pull closer, but came up empty each time. A fast-break jam by Kevin Dulorie stretched the lead to 17 midway through the fourth quarter as Parkland put this one away.

The top seeded Trojans squared off against No. 4 seed Allen on Wednesday, after Press deadline.

They defeated the Canaries 59-48 two weeks ago in the EPC semifinals. They did not meet in the regular season.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Parkland's Kenny Yeboah dunks the ball during last week's win over Pocono Mountain West.