Parkland aims to be a genuine contender

Parkland aims to be a genuine contender
January 07
00:00 2016
Photo by Craig T. Greenlee
Prior to his injury, Daniel Leal had established himself as the Mustangs go-to scorer in tightly-contested games.



So far, this season has produced a mixed bag for Parkland junior varsity basketball. Inconsistency is the prime reason why the Mustangs posted a 3-4 record coming off the Christmas holiday break.

As for how the remainder of this season turns out, it’s anyone’s guess. For now, though, Parkland is eager to find out where it will stand in the race for first place in the Central Piedmont Conference. League play started this week with games against Reagan (played Tuesday) and Mount Tabor (today).

“We’ve had some very good workouts since the [Lash-Chronicle] tournament, so I feel like we’ll be ready to play,” said coach James Williams. “I believe this team can have a good season. As long as we push the ball, play solid defense and give full effort, we’ll be in good shape. Those are the three things that we have to do to be at our best.”

Parkland figures to get a huge boost whenever Daniel Leal is able to return to the lineup. Leal, a sophomore shooting guard, has been sidelined for three weeks with a back injury. At the start of this week, Williams wasn’t sure about Leal’s availability in the coming weeks.

Prior to the back injury, Leal had established himself as a clutch scorer who has the ability to take over a game at any time. Leal has a nice outside shooting touch, but he’s also an effective distributor when he draws defenders on dribble drives to the basket. Most importantly, Leal tends to play his best in tightly-contested ball games.

But whether Leal is back on the court or not, Williams realizes that it’s mandatory for others to raise their level of play. “We’re going to need more from every one of our players at every position,” said Williams. “That’s what it’s going to take for us to compete at the highest level.”

Micah Williams has excelled as a pass-first point guard who gets his teammates involved in the scoring. Coach Williams, however, feels that in order for the Mustangs to have more offensive diversity, it’s crucial for Micah Williams to be more assertive in looking for his shot.

Parkland’s point guard shouldn’t have an issue getting ample scoring support from other positions on the floor. Swing player Raquane Key is at his best when attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line. Damien Thacker has developed an effective inside/outside game at small forward.

Zach Holmes is expected to become more of a factor as an inside presence, especially at the defensive end. Freshman guard Esosa Igbinigie comes off the bench to provide energy and intensity at both ends of the court.


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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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