Parkers Chapel, Horatio set to collide in regional

Parkers Chapel will play Horatio on Thursday at 7 p.m., in the 2A South Regional Tournament, hosted by Acorn. The Lady Trojans are 23-5 after Fordyce forfeited a pair of two-point wins due to using an ineligible player. The Lady Lions bring a 17-9 record into the contest.

At stake is a berth in the 2A State Tournament.

“We sat down before the season and we wrote down goals. We do team goals and game goals. I try to be very goal-oriented with them. That’s what we want to achieve and that’s how we’re going to get there. When I sit down and look at it, all of our goals that we set forth to achieve this year, every single one of them is still on the table,” said Parkers Chapel coach Justin Welch. “These girls know that and they really want to achieve every one of them. They’re working hard for it. It’s been a little tougher than we were anticipating, especially this little stretch. We knew it was going to be hard. They’re ready for it. I have no doubt in my mind they’re going to respond and give it their all.”

Parkers Chapel has played its last three games without senior post Kallie Martin, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Junction City. Two of those games were against Fordyce.

“We’re trying to adjust on the fly,” said Welch. “Injuries happen in basketball. There’s never a good time for an injury to occur. But this was definitely a very untimely injury at this point, basically two games before the district tournament starts. It’s a difficult situation. I’ve never been placed in a situation like that in all the years I’ve been playing or coaching basketball.

“We’ve had a little spell with some sicknesses and stuff like that the last couple of weeks on top of our injury with Kallie. It was a tough couple of weeks but I think we’re finally getting rid of the bug that’s been going around here. We’re working on learning to play without Kallie. These girls are doing everything I’m asking them to do. They’re working hard. Their morale is high even after two heartbreaking two-point losses to Fordyce. We’re ready to play. We’re excited. We’re real positive and we’re going to go over there and give it all we’ve got.”

Welch said he’s taken an up close look at the Lady Trojans’ opponent. Horatio knocked PC out of the regional tournament last season 44-33.

“I’ve watched a lot of game film on them and I went up and watched them play Acorn in the finals on Friday night up in Caddo Hills. I was able to see them in person, too,” Welch said. “They’re a solid basketball team. Anytime you come across somebody in regionals and beyond, you’re playing a quality basketball team. That’s what they are. I feel like we match up with them well. If we play our type of basketball, as long as we stick to our game plan, it will help us out a lot.”

The coach pointed to seniors Emma Ray and Cadee Glasgow and players to stop for the Lady Lions, who lost to Acorn 40-31 in their district final.

“Their go-to player is a senior. I guess you’d call her a forward. She’ll step out and shoot 3-pointers. She’ll go in and post you up. They have her listed at 5-11. She’s a tough player to stop,” Welch said of Ray. Of Glasgow, he added, “She helps a lot with bringing the ball up the court. She’s good at attacking the basket, finishing around the basket. She likes to get all of her scores off the dribble so we have to focus on keeping her in check and not let her weave in between us. She’s really good at it. She can weave through those zones. She’s good around the basket and shoots free throws well.

“Another girl is number 23, I don’t have her name on the roster. She’s a shooter. If you leave her wide open, she’ll definitely make you pay. She hurt us last year. She came off the bench and ended up hitting 17 points, five 3-pointers. I didn’t even have her on my scouting report. I’d watched film and hadn’t really seen her shoot the ball very much and she came out and lit us up. We definitely don’t want her to do that this year.”

Defensively, the Lady Lions have surrendered 37.2 points per game over the last 14 contests.

“They switch up defenses. I’ve seen them play everything from a 2-3 zone, 1-2-2 zone to a 1-3-1 zone,” said Welch. “I’ve even seen them run some man, so they mix it up really well. We’ve got to pick up on which zone they’re in and attack it the appropriate way with our offense.”

Welch said sophomore Bella Goodwin would likely start in place of Martin at the post.

“She’s been Kallie’s backup when she’s gotten in foul trouble throughout the year. I felt like it would keep our rhythm going better as far as the fluidity of our offense.” 

Welch said Martin’s absence is both a mental and physical obstacle for the team. The 3-year starter leaves an All-State-sized hole in the middle. 

“When you’re used to playing with somebody like this group has with six seniors, they’ve played with each other since they were in third-fourth grade. You get used to playing with each other. When you take one out of the mix all of a sudden, it kind of messes with your rhythm a little bit, which can get into your mind,” Welch said.

“Physically, Kallie is a presence offensively and defensively. She may not block every shot but she always alters them in some fashion when she’s in there. Even with her presence being in there, they rush a shot. We’re having to fill that on the defensive side. We’ll be fine. We’ve got the girls to do that.

“I know it’s cliche to say play it one game at a time but that’s what we have to do. If you start worrying about the end result of the game in the middle of it, you’ve got to focus and take care of business at that point.”

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