The Conestoga boys’ basketball squad gave District 11 Parkland a spirited battle in their PIAA Class AAAA state tournament opener Saturday evening, but Parkland prevailed in a 71-49 victory at Freedom High School.
Parkland (26-3), rated as one of the top high school boys’ basketball teams in the state, jumped out to a 20-6 first quarter lead. The Pioneers (19-10), the No. 8 seed in District One, whittled the Parkland lead down to single digits in the second quarter, but the Trojans pulled away in the second half, scoring 25 points in the third quarter.
Conestoga head coach Mike Troy said, “We came out and missed a few shots early, but then battled back in the second quarter and cut [Parkland’s] lead, but Parkland pulled away in the second half. They’re a fine, fine team. …. At the beginning of this season, after losing five of our top seven players [from last year] to graduation, no one would have thought we would be back in the PIAA state tournament this season. Our team played hard and unselfishly all season and got everything out of its ability.”
Darryl Caldwell, who passed the 1,000 career point milestone earlier this season, led the Pioneers in scoring Saturday with 19 points. Angus Mayock tallied nine points for Conestoga.
Troy said, “In my 20 years of coaching, this year’s team played as physically hard as any team I’ve ever had. We played a different style of basketball this year – more running and shooting threes – and our players did a terrific job of executing the game plans.”