Warrior Run players found a good way to pile up assists Thursday at the Catholic Community Center. Simply find Tay Parker near the 3-point arc, stand back and enjoy.
Parker put on a first-half shooting display that might make Ray Allen envious, draining six 3-pointers en route to scoring a season-high 29 points. Parker's hot shooting and her teammates solid all-around play helped Warrior Run thump St. John Neumann, 59-32.
The Defenders (11-5) won their sixth straight and clinched a fourth consecutive District 4 Class AA berth.
Warrior Run’s Tay Parker (22) drives to the basket against St. John Neumann’s Meghan Trenholm on Thursday night at St.?John Neumann. Parker finished with a game-high 29 points during the Defenders’ 27-point win. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com
Not surprisingly, Parker has played some of her best basketball during this stretch.
"When I made my first couple I felt really good so I kept shooting. Once I get one to fall I have more confidence," Parker said. "Earlier in the season, I wasn't shooting well but I just kept working on my shot and it's finally started going in."
Neumann (9-8) learned that often. Parker hit three 3-pointers in both the first and second quarters as Warrior Run built a 36-16 lead that was never threatened. The senior guard made three consecutive 3-pointers late in the second and had a hand in the team's last 11 points.
Parker, last year's Class AA state softball Player of the Year, went a different route in the second half, attacking the basket. She added four rebounds and three assists while nearly outscoring Neumann by herself.
"Tay came out and shot well and she's been doing that the last couple games," Warrior Run coach Jon Weaver said. "Once she started hitting from the outside they started overplaying her and she started going to the basket. Tay has stepped it up. Her last five games, she's been clutch."
Really, the whole team has. That has helped the Defenders turn around their season and beat Lewisburg and Southern Columbia after losing to both earlier this year. Sophomore Abby Fisher has been coming on strong and she and Laura Bastian set the early tone before Parker heated up.
Fisher and Bastian had a hand in the game's first eight points and combined for 11 first-quarter points as Warrior Run played one of its best quarters and built a 22-7 lead. Fisher nearly had a double-double, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds while Bastian had eight points, four assists and seven rebounds. The emergence of those two has taken pressure off leading scorer Steph Shamburg, who had nine rebounds and five steals.
Neumann focused on stopping Shamburg and held her to seven points but unlike in the past, Warrior Run has the weapons to make defenses pay for doubling Shamburg. Guard Chloe Eisenhuth played well, too, scoring six points, dealing five assists and making three steals while Mackenzie Hays grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.
"I think our hustle is better now," Parker said. "We weren't really working well together earlier in the season but things have changed and we're back in the groove."
"That's why we have been playing much better," Weaver said. "Laura and Abby have been playing better and Chloe has been scoring more. I can't ask for any more effort. These girls give you every single ounce they have."
Neumann has been going in the opposite direction during Warrior Run's winning streak. The Knights have dropped six of seven games and are mired in a prolonged shooting slump. Neumann made only 7 of 41 shots Thursday after playing Muncy tough two nights ago.
Meghan Trenholm scored 23 points, but no other player scored more than three. Trenholm made 15 of 18 foul shots and grabbed seven rebounds while scoring all 16 second-half Neumann points.
"Our shooting has been off for quite some time and we just work and work on shooting and do all kinds of drills," Neumann coach Steve Sholder said. "We played really well against Muncy and I thought that would be a nice springboard. I knew this was going to be tough but I thought we would play better. It's a total lack of confidence right now. We need a really good win and hopefully we can get it Saturday against North Penn and go from there."
WARRIOR RUN (59)
Steph Shamburg 2 3-4 7, Tay Parker 8 7-9 29, Abby Fisher 4 0-0 9, Chloe Eisenhuth 1 4-6 6, Laura Bastian 3 2-2 8, Mackenzie Hays 0 0-0 0, Rachel Grow 0 0-0 0, Olivia George 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 16-20 59.
Meghan Trenholm 4 15-18 23, Emily Sholder 1 0-1 2, Rachel Danneker 1 0-1 3, Emily Sheleman 1 0-0 2, Baylie Gerrity 0 1-2 1, Stephanie Fernandez 0 0-0 0, Megan Helminiak 0 1-2 1, Katherine Mertes 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 17-24 32.
Warrior Run22 14 13 10-59
Neumann7 9 9 7-32
3-pointers: Warrior Run 7 (Parker 6, Fisher); Neumann 1 (Danneker).
Records: Warrior Run 11-5. Neumann 9-8.