El Dorado News-Times
Parkers Chapel to face Horatio at regional tourney
Parkers Chapel advanced to the state tournament after entering the regional as a No. 3 seed last year. The Lady Trojans hope it's déjà vu in a good way this season.
Parkers Chapel, seeded third, will face No. 2 seed Horatio on Thursday at 4 p.m., at the 2A South Regional Tournament at Fordyce.
Unlike last year, this year's opponent was the regular season district champion. The Lady Lions (27-5) were upset by Acorn 36-34 in their district final. Horatio also owns a 47-30 win over Parkers Chapel on Dec. 3.
“They're a really good team. At this point you're going to play quality basketball teams, no matter who you get. We played them in December. They played really well, shot the ball really well. I think they shot right at 50 percent behind the 3-point line,” said Parkers Chapel coach Justin Welch.
The Lady Lions hit 12-of25 from 3-point range in the first meeting.
“They shot the ball really well and we shot the ball very poorly,” said Welch. “The plan is to defend the 3-pointers better, make it tougher on them and make more of our shots. I'm hoping we will give them a run for their money and just have a better outing this time.”
Parkers Chapel (21-8) has gone 2-3 in its last five games. The Lady Trojans have struggled from 3-point range, allowing teams to clog the paint around posts Kallie Martin and Krista Rivers.
“We haven't shot the ball very well. Throughout the season, it hasn't been one of our strong points. But, yeah, we do need some timely shots on the outside,” Welch said. “As the season has progressed, most teams have packed it in on us and forced us to shoot over them. That makes it harder on Kallie. Not only does it hurt us with our inside play, it hurts us with our penetration with Bella and Makenzie.
“As a coach, you're hoping these girls will be ready for that moment and hit those shots. When you hit some outside shots, it changes everything. It makes them have to extend out and opens up gaps and opens up passes to the inside. It does seem like we've gone a little cold but we don't play the last game, we play the next game. The next game, we have to believe they're going to go in. I know the girls can shoot it.”
The Lady Trojans hoped to get a boost from an undefeated junior high team. But the junior tournament was held the same week as senior district. Welch said his ninth graders haven't had an opportunity to practice with the senior girls, limiting what they can do during games.
Some could see some minutes, though.
“We had a great practice (Monday). These girls are excited and ready to play,” said Welch, who was asked about the state of the girls' program at PC.
“As far as the program is concerned, barring injuries and all that stuff, we expect to be in the regional tournament year-in and year-out. That's what you want as a coach. I think we need to keep building on it. I would like to not just be a shoe-in for regionals. I want it to be that we make it to state every year. That's the ultimate goal is to get to that state tournament so you get the girls experience and they feel more comfortable and we go in with a different mentality.”
Horatio represents a large roadblock between the Lady Trojans and a third straight trip to the state tournament.
“Horatio depends a lot on pressure defense. We're going to have to handle their pressure defense. But we're also going to have to defend the 3-pointers with a sense of urgency,” said Welch. “This is the type of team, they test any type of defense that you run at them whether it's zone, whether it's man. They're going to force you to have to defend that arc really well.
“And if you don't, they'll beat you night-in and night-out because they're really good shooters. But, there's no doubt in my mind that we can go over and win this game. I hope there's no doubt in any of those girls' minds. I don't think there is. I'm excited to play Horatio.”