The Trojans Seek Titles
By: Tyler Trumbauer
The old adage goes, “Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.” For the Parkland boys’ basketball team, that saying fits perfectly.
“I think our kids realize that defensively we need to get better. We definitely need to make defending and keeping these teams to a certain amount of points a priority,” Head coach Andy Stephens said in a phone call last week. “We are getting there. We aren’t there yet. In order to win anything significant we will need to play really good defense,” he continued.
The Trojans, led by Stephens, are capping off a tremendous winter. As of printing, Parkland possesses an 8-2 record in the Lehigh Valley Conference and a 13-5 mark overall. They have clinched a spot in the District 11 AAAA tournament. However, the team isn’t worrying about districts quite yet as they have also clinched the North Division in the LVC and will be a part of the league playoffs.
The Trojans’ are allowing, on average, 50 points per contest. Fortunately for them, they average 60 points offensively. The sentiment of a defensive improvement is known throughout the locker room as senior Austin Beidelman expressed his opinion on how to better the defensive inefficiency in a text last week, “We need to never take a play off and work harder defensively!”
The Trojans endured a crushing loss to fellow LVC elite, Freedom, early in the season before they won 12 straight games in the meat of their regular season schedule. That winning streak was not an easy feat as the LVC is a very tough league this year. At time of printing eight out of twelve teams in the league were district qualifiers.
Unlike most successful basketball teams, Parkland does not have a solid big man in the post. Stephens expressed his concern over that fact to me in the preseason, but he is confident with his team’s efforts in the paint this so far, “We have kind of been working by committee. There hasn’t been one guy that we really have stuck with. We have been alternating between [senior] Nate Case, [junior] Nick Selvaggi and [junior] Alex Mitton. Those three in different games have all done a good job. We don’t really have a true ‘big-man’ as we have had in previous years.”
The aforementioned Beidelman, fellow senior Nick Rindock, and junior Justin Zajko all have had great seasons statistically as all three players average double digit points per game. When asked about his excellent individual performances this year Beidelman deflects the spotlight, “[This season] means a lot to me, but my teammates put me in spots to score. It’s a team game, not just about an individual.”
Stephens, who is in his fifth year as the head coach at Parkland, echoes the 6’3” guard’s views on the individual success this winter, “We knew coming in that if those three didn’t work together and help each other that we wouldn’t be successful. Each one of them needs the other guy. It is a matter of them having faith in one another.”
This season was a predicted successful one by many around the Lehigh Valley and the Trojans did not fail to deliver. However, they have some fierce opponents ahead of them in the league playoffs and the district tournament as well. Without an improved defense, it’ll be a tall task for them to still be playing in mid-March. With any improved defensive plan, anything is plausible for these talented Trojans.