Parkway Central takes on Parkway South in girls sectional basketball action
By: Warren Mayes
The Parkway Central Colts are new to high school girls sectional basketball. The Parkway South Patriots, on the other hand, knows what to expect.
The Colts (20-7) upset Parkway North 54-47 to win the Class 5 District 4 championship game. It was the first Parkway Central district crown in this century and only the second in school history. The Colts’ other district title came in 1999.
Parkway South (25-3) dispatched Marquette 67-53 to claim the District 3 championship. The Patriots have won 14 straight games and 19 of their last 20.
The two teams meet at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday (March 6) at Maryville University with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals are set for Saturday.
Parkway Central coach Brian Guilfoyle said his Colts were due to win a title.
“We have had some amazing teams over the years but it always seemed like St. Joe or Incarnate Word was in our district,” Guilfoyle said. ” This title was really for all of those teams. ”
The district title is important for his program.
“It’s huge,” Guilfoyle said. “This is my third year as the head coach and each year it seems the girls keep improving. Hopefully, this is another stepping stone for what comes in the future.”
The Colts have made significant progress under Guilfoyle. In his firstyear, Parkway Central went 10-16 and then improved to 13-14 last year and now stand 20-7.
Parkway South has enjoyed much success in Williams’ 12 years at the helm. The Patriots, who have seven district titles in school history, have won five since Williams has been at Parkway South. The Patriots have won four district titles in the last five years.
In addition, the Parkway South has won seven Suburban West Conference crowns under Williams.
“A district title validates all the hard work the girls put into the season,” Williams said. “It also shows that the team has grown since October and that we are playing our best basketball.”
The Colts entered district play with an eight-game winning streak.
“We wanted to compete and play our hardest in every game,” Guilfoyle said. “As coaches we expect the players to grow and learn throughout the year. We felt like we were peaking at the right time.”
Parkway Central met red-hot Parkway North, who had won 22 in a row, for the district title. That did not scare the Colts.
“We talked about playing together as a team and believing in your teammates. We really felt that if we put together four quality quarters of basketball we could compete with any team,” Guilfoyle said. “We respected what North accomplished throughout the year and we played as though we had nothing to lose.”
The Vikings had beaten the Colts twice during the regular season.
“We finished second to them in (Suburban South) conference and we were looking forward to playing them again,” Guilfoyle said. “We really don’t focus on the past. In basketball, you have to look forward and have a short memory. We respect what other teams are capable of and accomplishments but we can only control what we do.”
The Colts hit their free throws down the stretch and took care of the ball better in the second half to defeat the Vikings.
“We knew that we had to try our best to control our turnovers until the last second ran off the clock,” Guilfoyle said. “This was probably our best game all year as far as playing together and handling the pressure. I was extremely proud of the girls and how they handled themselves in crunch time.
“I think my girls truly believed they could win and had something to prove.”
Parkway South was ready for the Mustangs.
“Our first two goals of the season is to win a conference and district championship,” Williams said. “We focused on playing our game and staying disciplined, and giving great effort. As long as we did those two things we would accept any outcome.
“The girls were focused, but loose. They were looking forward to the challenge of playing Marquette on their homecourt. We shot the ball exceptionally good that night. We were fortunate to get the win.”
Now, the Colts and Patriots will meet and the winner will keep playing. The two teams met in the season opener in the Parkway Tip-Off Classic. Parkway South won 45-30.
” It was the first game of the season and both teams have grown throughout the season,” Guilfoyle said. “They pressured us and we had a hard time scoring. The biggest thing (we learned) is we need to take care of the ball and try to compete on every possession. We need to respect what they are capable of.”
Guilfoyle said his girls are excited about the opportunity.
“Parkway South will be another hard opponent,” Guilfoyle said. ” The girls are looking for to another competitive night.”
The Patriots will give them that, Guilfoyle said.
“They have a well rounded team that is extremely well coached,” Guilfoyle said about Parkway South. “We need to believe that we are capable of making it there. We also need to value every possession and play with heart.”
Williams said his girls know what is at stake.
“The players are looking forward to the game,” Williams said. “The last two sectional games we played Incarnate Word and they were huge favorites. The two teams are more evenly matched, and that is exciting. They are well coached and play hard. They are much improved from the beginning of the season, and are peaking at the right time.
“We will need to value the basketball and rebound very well.”