ALLENTOWN — The Lady Panthers were their typical relentless selves on defense.
But their offense couldn’t capitalize on the Trojans’ mistakes, even in overtime.
Taliyah Malone scored a team-high 15 points, but No. 6 Pocono Mountain West fell 45-39 in overtime to No. 5 Parkland in the District 11 Class 6A girls basketball consolation game in William Allen High School’s Sewards Gymnasium on Friday night.
The Panthers (15-10) were outscored 8-2 in the overtime frame and found no momentum whatsoever, resulting in their second straight loss after a semifinal loss to Freedom on Tuesday.
All Pocono West coach Chrissy Campos wanted to see in that final frame was wiser shot selection and passing.
“Just a little more patience and let the game come to you instead of trying to force it,” Campos said. “I felt like we tried to force the win or to try to get the win rather than just playing and letting the game go the way it’s supposed to go.”
The Panthers trailed by five points early in the fourth quarter but continuously chipped away for a one-point deficit. A string of fouls sent Parkland players to the free-throw line, but the Trojans struggled mightily, sinking just 8 of 15 in the frame.
Those struggles were magnified most in the final minute of regulation. With 58 seconds left, Pocono West sophomore Jada Bowen sank a quick layup to give West a 37-36 lead. Thirteen seconds later, Sonya Shivok was fouled by Bowen and sank one of two shots, tying the game at 37.
West took a timeout moments later and wound the clock down to attempt the game’s final shot. Malone drove to the basket for the layup but was met with a block by Parkland’s Lindsay Berger, who Malone fouled and sent to the stripe with 2.6 seconds left.
Berger missed both and the ball was rebounded by the Panthers, sending the contest to overtime.
“Really, the game should have been over,” Campos said. “We got lucky that she missed the two.”
In total, the Trojans (16-10) ended the game 18 of 35 from the stripe. West never took advantage despite those struggles.
The result was a continuation of a lesson the Panther players are quickly learning: competition gets tougher the longer this playoff run lasts.
“Little mental breakdowns and from the younger kids,” Campos noted of Friday’s performance. “Some of the older kids as well. It’s kind of the same-old, same-old. You’re trying to teach them that, as I said before, the further you get into playing, the tougher it is to recover from minor infractions that turn into major swings in momentum. That’s hard to teach.”
Now, Pocono Mountain West will shift its focus to Plymouth-Whitemarsh, the District 1 third-place program which earned a 56-42 victory over Spring Ford on Friday night. The Panthers will meet Plymouth-Whitemarsh in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A state tournament on March 6, while Parkland will face Spring Ford.
Having the next week to regroup after consecutive losses will be a benefit for West, Campos said, if only to reaffirm how difficult the road ahead will be.
“They’re tired. I understand that. But everyone’s tired,” Campos said. “We’re all playing longer and they’re tired. I’m tired. But we’ve got to keep pushing on. We’ve got to continue to get better. We’ve got to continue to play together, and it has to be for 32 minutes because now we’re going into the state playoffs, and teams are 10 times better than what they were in our league, in our district, and now we’re getting into the best teams in the state. So we’ve got to be able to play for 32 minutes.”
The time and location of Pocono Mountain West’s first-round game against Plymouth-Whitemarsh remains to be determined.
District 11 Class 6A Consolation Game
No. 5 Parkland 45, No. 6 PM West 39 (OT)
PM West 10 10 5 12 2 - 39
Parkland 9 13 5 10 8 - 45
PM West 39
Weirich 1 0-0 2, Knecht 1 0-2 2, Malone 5 2-2 15, Bowen 2 0-0 4, Simmons 3 1-1 8, Darby 0 0-0 0, Hudson 1 1-3 3, Owens 2 1-3 5. Totals: 15 5-11 39.
Olenwine 2 0-0 6, Shivok 3 9-14 16, Wilkinson 2 0-2 2, Berger 5 9-17 19, Young 0 0-0 0, Spang 0 0-2 0, Hartman 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 18-35 45.
3-pointers: PMW 4 (Malone 3, Simmons); P 3 (Olenwine 2, Shivok).