By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports
Three hundred and sixty-five days ago the Parkway Lady Panthers were in the same position. They had a home quarterfinal game against a double-digit seed, expected to go to Marsh Madness in Hammond. While they had the consolation of playing one of the best games of the year, the overtime loss to eventual 2021 5A runner-up Benton left a deep hurt within the Lady Panthers program.
“It’s been with us,” said coach Gloria Williams about last season’s loss to Benton. “It’s like an Achilles injury. We did not want that feeling again. To be that close and lose it the way we did. This year’s team is different, however.”
These Lady Panthers are definitely different. As a matter of fact, it looked like they took their game to another level that Northshore could not remotely match. Paced by the Chloe (Larry) and (Mi)Kaylah (Williams) Show, the Lady Panthers throttled 10th seed Northshore 82-41 before a packed house Thursday night at PHS.
Larry played the role of closer as she scored 31 points, finishing the middle two quarters with 3-point bombs. She downed a total of five treys during the game. Williams, ranked as the country’s top recruit in the Class of 2023, was not too shabby, either. The point guard posted 26 points as she found herself in the paint several times making short jumpers or layups almost at will.
“Both of them performed phenomenally,” was coach Williams’ assessment. “They feed off of one another and they play well off of one another as they did tonight.”
Northshore seemed to frustrate Parkway early on as the Lady Panthers had a tough go of it. Coach Williams credited Northshore’s coaching staff for switching up things from the film the Panthers watched. While the Northshore defense might have been a contributing factor to Williams being a little off in the first stanza, Larry picked up the slack. She scored 12 of Parkway’s 14 points in the first quarter.
From there, the Lady Panthers increased their point production in each quarter. They were up 20 at the half and finished the night with a 28-point fourth quarter.
Northshore was led by senior point guard Tiarra Tillison as she scored a team-high 18. Tierra Sylvas contributed 10 points as well in the losing effort. The visitors finished their season with a record of 22-10.
“This moment is surreal,” said the winning coach. “We will celebrate tonight. However, we are not going (to Marsh Madness) just to be there.”
Now that Parkway has exorcized their ghosts from last year’s playoff disappointment, the Lady Panthers will take their 32-1 record to Hammond to face the third-seeded Lafayette Mighty Lions who punched their ticket to Hammond by defeating Southwood by 23.
The day and time of the semifinal at Southeastern’s University Center will be set later by the LHSAA (LHSAA.org)..
Photo by PRESTON EDWARDS