Colonels Come Up Just Short in ISL Championship

Parker Falls to Northridge 62-61 in a Battle for First Place in the ISL


Photo credit: Eli Greenwald

On Wednesday, February 1, the Colonels lost a heartbreaker at home to the Northridge Knights, 62-61. The Knights took their first lead of the second half on a layup by Ben Hanretty with only 5.7 second to go. Caleb David then attempted a runner at the buzzer that rimmed out, and Parker fell just short, losing by one.

David was spectacular on the night, leading the Colonels in scoring with twenty nine points, to go with seven assists, two rebounds, and two steals. His night was highlighted by a breakaway dunk which put him over the threshold of one thousand points in his high school basketball career. Caleb joined fellow senior captain Payton Pitts in the one thousand point club. Caleb David is very proud of his and Pitts’ accomplishments. “Hitting 1000 points is a huge milestone in my career knowing I left my mark on Parker in some way,” said David. “It’s also really cool because Parker hasn’t had many people do what me and Payton have both done.”

“It means we have cemented our legacy at Parker as one of the best backcourts in school history,” Pitts said about him and David reaching this milestone.

IBCA (Illinois Basketball Coaches Association) hall of famer and current Northridge coach Will Rey was impressed by the Parker senior backcourt duo. “Payton Pitts, and Caleb David are two of the finest players I’ve seen in this league in a long time,” Rey said. “Their ability as players is only exceeded by the character of the young men.” 

All of Colonel nation has every reason to be proud of the accomplishments of both Pitts and David, and can be even prouder to have their school represented on the court by these two seniors.

To open the ballgame, in the first quarter, the Colonels outscored the Knights 16-14 led on the offensive end by Payton Pitts who scored six points in the quarter being perfect from beyond the arc, and defensively by Calan Scherer who recorded two steals in the first eight minutes of the ballgame. Scherer finished the night with four rebounds, two steals, and a block. Pitts finished the night with nine points, seven assists, eight rebounds, and three steals.

At the 6:30 mark of the first quarter, Colonel’s senior captain Owen Stepan, went down with a leg injury. He returned to the court at the 2:40 mark and he finished out the quarter, but that was the last we saw of him on the night. Losing Stepan was a huge blow to the Colonels as he is their best rim protector, shot blocker, and interior defender. The thing that hurt the Colonel most on the night, was their struggle to stop Northridge’s inside attack.

When asked about why he felt the game didn’t go their way in the end, Payton Pitts mentioned that losing Stepan definitely hurt them. “We tried our best without our glue guy in Owen,” Pitts said, “and they eventually started hitting their shots. We missed free throws and turned the ball over, and that’s part of the game.”

In the second, the Colonels found a hole in Northridge’s 1-3-1 defense, by scoring 15 points from beyond the arc. The Colonel’s finished the first half with a whopping 48% 3-point shot percentage. In the first 2 quarters, the Knights known to be stellar inter-perimeter defense continued to be just that, causing the Colonels to turn the ball over six times. Offensively in the first half, the Knights were led by TJ Gorman who scored 12 points through the first two quarters. Gorman finished the night with fourteen points, an assist, seven rebounds, and a block. At the half, the Colonels led 32-29.

In the third, the Colonel’s continued to use the 1-3-1 to their advantage by continuing to shoot the long ball very well. The Colonel’s shot the ball well from three the entire game as they shot 40% from beyond the arc. The attack from behind the three point line, was headlined by Caleb David, Payton Pitts, Miles Johnson, and Jack Hughes. Miles Johnson specifically really caught fire in the second half making three massive triples in the last two quarters of the ball game. Jack Hughes also shot the ball very effectively from long range, scoring six from beyond the arc, and going 2-3. Without Johnson and Hughes effectively shooting the long ball, this game may not have been so close.

In the final eight minutes of the game, Northridge started to figure out their perimeter offense. In the last five minutes alone, the Knights scored nine points from beyond the arc. The late surge from downtown was headlined by Ben Hanretty, who scored six points from long range.

The last twenty seconds of the game had enough action for an entire quarter. With sixteen seconds to go, Evan Sato went to the free throw line for a one-and-one, which he missed. The Knights came down the court, and Ben Hanretty made a layup and was fouled by Calan Scherer which sent Hanretty for a chance to complete the and one. He missed it, but it didn’t matter. As previously mentioned, David missed the running shot at the buzzer, and The Knights won 62-61. 

When asked about how his team can bounce back from such a devastating loss, Colonel’s assistant coach Omni Smith said this; “We just gotta take it one step at a time, and one game at a time, and it starts Friday. We’ll be alright.”

Currently, The Colonels have a conference record of 8-1, an overall record of 15-9, and are in second place in the ISL. The Knights have a conference record of 8-0, an overall record of 17-8, and are in first place in the ISL, in line to win the conference.