January 30, 2019
By: Cassie Schmidt
I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a certain stereotype when it comes to the schools in the Colonial League vs. the schools in the East Penn Conference. While the schools in the Colonial League are typically smaller and have certainly have less athletes because of that, that doesn’t depict skill, talent, hard work or good coaching.
Last night I was able to cover the rescheduled, high-anticipated matchup between two of the top tier teams in their perspective leagues. Southern Lehigh currently sits at #2 in the Colonial League while Parkland sits in 3rd of the EPC Skyline Division. While Parkland was looking to get back on track after a tough loss to Central Catholic, Southern Lehigh was just looking to keep the ball rolling, searching for their tenth-straight victory.
Another fun fact coming into this game, was that Parkland had just recently beaten one of the top teams in the entire EPC; Nazareth. Nazareth on the other hand though, handed Southern Lehigh just their third loss on the season in a tough 3-point decision. Southern Lehigh has played just two EPC teams before this matchup, Bethlehem Catholic & Nazareth, where they’d go 1-1 in those meetings.
Just based on their perspective records and seeing both of these teams play numerous times, I thought that Southern Lehigh was the more balanced team and overall possessed more skill in both Ellie Cassel and Olivia Snyder. SIDE NOTE: In my personal opinion Olivia Snyder is one of the best girls basketball player in the entire area and watching her against other opponents no one had much of an answer for her at all. That being said, Parkland did a very good job slowing down Snyder in the first half allowing just 10 points from the senior in the first 16 minutes of play. But, with most of the priority on Snyder, Cassel was able to let loose. Cassel would lead with 12 points at halftime. The first quarter was quite close and the Trojans had only trailed by 8 at the break. The defensive effort in the third and fourth quarter from the Spartans took over the game and helped propel their offensive to an all out rout. Both Snyder and Cassel would finish with a game-high 22 points in a dominant 54-34 win over Parkland.
After the game, I got to speak with Coach Matt Cooper, Ellie and Olivia. After talking with all three it was pretty evident that this was a game marked on the calendar for the Spartans. While the game was rescheduled to a later date, they all agreed they liked having this game closer to the end of the season because it was a good way to gage where the team is at before heading into playoffs.
Southern Lehigh is looking for a 4-peat this year in both Leagues and the District Tournament. After last nights showing, I think they have a pretty good chance in doing just that. I also think with the seniors having their last go at it, a run in the PIAA State playoffs might be in the Spartans future as well.