Parkland Lady Cobras reflect on success and look to the future
Adam Vilmin and Brittany Webb
With Parkland Women’s Basketball Team’s wildly successful 33-1 season ending in a heartbreaking two-point loss to Johnson County Community College, it’s time to look back at the incredible achievements of the program, and also examine the optimistic future of the team.
Built on the foundation of Coach Mike Lindemann’s emphasis on defense creating offense, the Cobra’s 5th ranked offense was the fast paced characterization of their one loss regular season. Night after night, the Cobras routinely blew through the opposition.
According to Lindemann, the team’s airtight defense led to quick improvisation and the team avoided running many set plays.
“We probably scored 60-70 percent of our plays off of transition,” Lindemann said. “We really were a lot of fun to watch. I spent most of my time sitting back and enjoying them play.”
Sophomore point guard, Laura Litchfield, and sophomore center, Hannah Wascher, led the non-stop charge, and both picked up All Tournament Team recognition. Wascher also received the Midwest Athletic Conference (M-WAC) Player of the Year honors.
Wascher said she had a dedicated practice regimen that continued through the off season. She wanted to be sure she could bring her best to the table each time the team stepped on the court. There are a few things that distanced her from others who play her position.
“What I think sets me apart is my strength and agility as a post,” she said. “I am rather small for my position and due to the strength and my ability to jump and my quickness; I think that’s what really sets me apart.”
The season began to show the team’s incredible potential when, as Lindemann recalled, “We were ranked # 1 and played ICC (ranked 3rd) at Peoria, we trailed by 14 points with about 7 minutes left in the game, and with great defense, came back and won by 4. At that point, the girls felt that they could beat anyone in the country.”
The women also knew the season was leading to something special when game after game, the difference in the scores of them and the opposition continued to grow.
“We really saw what we could be when we started beating teams by so much,” Litchfield said. “When the starters came out and the bench went in, they were still putting in work and blowing teams out.”
The Lady Cobras are a very close-knit team. Both Wascher and Litchfield spoke fondly of their teammates, pointing out the fact that many of the players even live together. Litchfield said the team being so close was important to their success this season.
“When you can trust somebody, it’s easy to play with them,” Litchfield said. “You can trust them off the court and on the court, it really translates over.”
With the current sophomores moving on to four-year colleges (both Wascher and Litchfield earned spots at University of Illinois, Chicago and University of Southern Indiana, respectively), the current freshmen are primed to continue the Cobra’s dominance. Josie Zerrusen earned a starting spot this year, as well as Kassidy Alderman and Haley Toohill logging quality minutes off the bench. Lindemann also was excited about Coach Bill Dobrik’s recruiting efforts for the incoming freshman class.
“We try to keep six going out, six coming in,” Lindemann said, regarding the staff’s personal philosophy regarding the composition of the team. “The experiences the freshmen get are invaluable when they turn sophomore. Even just in open gym after the season, the freshmen are just so much better.”
The upcoming season is certainly guaranteed to be an exciting one, with the six returning players taking over key roles, and especially having Lindemann’s well-seasoned coaching staff guiding their development. Home basketball games are held during the fall semester in Dodd’s Athletic Complex, located in the P-Wing.