The Parkside Rangers were set for a huge showdown on Senior Day against the top team in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Their opponent was the Quincy University Hawks, who entered DeSimone Gymnasium Monday evening as the eleventh ranked team in the country. They featured a conference best 15-1 record, and were unbeaten in the North Division. In what was their biggest game of the season, Parkside didn’t disappoint at home. The women’s basketball team capped the upset, and blew away Quincy, 83-60.
The pre-game introduction featured a special tribute for Senior Day. Parkside’s two senior athletes, Allison Smaglik and Brittany Hogen, were introduced with their family. They were both presented with special gifts from the team and given a warm ovation from those in attendance.
“Our seniors have been great,” smiled women’s basketball head coach Jenny Kenesie. “Allison, she’s hard to talk about when it comes to on the floor stuff just because she has been battling with so many injuries, but she has been through everything with us. She’s a great kid. She works really hard, even though she can’t necessarily be on the floor on a daily basis. She does everything we ask her to do, and she is a great teammate on and off the court. Brittany Hogen, she’s our leader. She is our senior leader, who gets after people when they need to be gotten after. She also deals with me. I get after her a lot, and put a lot of pressure on her. I expect a lot from her, and she deals with it. That just shows what kind of senior leadership we have. We’re just very fortunate to be able to have the two of them in our program.”
Both teams came out flying for the start of this contest. Quincy and Parkside’s offenses were moving lightning quick, and having their way with the opposing defense. For Parkside, the defensive game ramped up after a few Quincy miscues. Quincy’s offense actually seemed to move a little too quickly. With Parkside defense’s flustering Quincy, the team pulled out an 11-0 run to push the score to 21-9.
“Our kids are motivated kids,” noted coach Kenesie. “We set a lot of high expectations for ourselves and have a lot of goals that we want to reach. This is just a step towards that. Our kids knew how important this game was and knew they had to come out and play extremely well against a very good Quincy team. I’m just proud of them the way they came out and protected their home floor and really played a complete game as a team.”
The stars of the first half for Parkside were Brittany Hogen and Jadee Rooney. Hogen, who celebrated Senior Day with an outstanding performance, put up a first half high of fifteen points. Jadee Rooney’s first half effort included three three-pointers. Rooney’s first three took place just as Parkside was cementing its 11-0 run. Another of Rooney’s three pointers was a direct response to a Quincy three at the other end. Rooney’s answering three pointer stunting any momentum Quincy could build off of with their big shot.
As it stood at halftime, Parkside might have just put a stamp on their best half of basketball this season. Their lone flaw on offense was letting the shot clock get the best of them on a few occasions. Beyond that, Parkside was in firm control. The Rangers biggest lead of the half was by twenty-two, and they entered the half up by a cool twenty.
More of the same would follow in the second half, as Parkside’s defense was vital in sustaining and pushing their lead. Parkside generated twelve turnovers, and collected six steals on the night. Parkside also out rebounded Quincy, 42-25. With all of this defense put up by Parkside, they still featured three players scoring in double digits tonight. Brittany Hogen had a game high of twenty-three points, as well as eleven rebounds, two assists, and one steal on the night. Jadee Rooney collected twenty-two points in the game, and hit five three pointers. Brittany Beyer also chipped in with twelve points, four rebounds, an assist, and a steal.
Parkside pulled out a lead as high as thirty-one points over the eleventh ranked team in the country. With the tempo of the contest cooling well past the halfway point of the second half, Quincy managed to pull in slightly, but nowhere near enough. Parkside won by the impressive final, 83-60.
“I thought we played really well on both ends of the floor,” said coach Kenesie. “Not only offensively, where a lot of people see things stand out, but I thought we played really well defensively. That’s really what was the difference in the basketball game. We were able to stop their transition and then limit their shots from behind the arch.”
Also of note, this game was featured as the women’s basketball team’s “Think Pink,” game to raise breast cancer awareness. Commemorative Parkside Basketball shirts were available throughout the night, along with a silent auction during the first game. All proceeds went to Breast Cancer Research.
With this being the final scheduled home game, all eyes aim to the final two road games before Parkside gets to host a GLVC Playoff game on Saturday February 26th at 1pm. The last two road games will take place against Illinois-Springfield and St. Joseph’s at the end of this week.