For the Elizabethtown Bears boys basketball team, Murphy’s Law played out in real time.
Hosting the championship game of the Winter Classic at Elizabethtown Area High School, the team carried a double-digit lead late into the third quarter after holding Bishop McDevitt to 19 first-half points, only to lose, 50-42.
Though coughing up a fourth-quarter lead after three solid quarters is one thing that can be solved in the practice gym before the next game, the bigger issue is the injury that occurred before the insult of the fourth quarter.
Ryan Parise, the sophomore point guard, suffered an injured ankle in the opening quarter of the game and did not return. Though it was early enough in the game for anything to happen, it appeared as if the point guard’s injury had an undercurrent of inevitability attached.
It wasn’t as if Elizabethtown (4-5) was waiting to lose, but the team was like a foot missing its big toe.
“Some of them haven’t been in that position before,” head coach Rocky Parise said about his young team that starts two sophomores and three juniors.
They might be in that position again on Friday, Jan. 5, where Ryan Parise could be on the sidelines again. Though the swelling has dissipated in the sophomore’s ankle/foot, the sophomore point guard still is walking with a limp, according to the coach, and has some significant bruising.
Fortunately, the swelling has gone down, the coach said, so the team’s training staff can go to work on lessening the pain for the point guard. With the regular-season winding down and the Section Two schedule ready to heat up, the season is slipping away for Elizabethtown and Ryan Parise.
“It doesn’t look too good, but the swelling has gone down,” coach Parise said. “We’ll see if he can be ready for Friday.”
Indeed, Elizabethtown was squared up against a more experienced team racing just off its shoulder into the final stretch. Without its playmaker and point guard, the coming storm was too much to bear. McDevitt (6-2) was led by Davon Lee, who scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter.
It cut Elizabethtown’s lead to six points at the end of the third quarter with a three-pointer from Jake Kelly and went on a 22-8 run the rest of the way to escape with the victory.
“It’s a shame because for three quarters we played well,” the elder Parise said. “But losing Ryan kind of changed the dynamic of our team.”
Perhaps in the future it’s a game Elizabethtown wins. Though the younger Parise could only watch from the sidelines as his teammates gave away the fourth-quarter lead, there was some valuable lessons learned for the youthful Bears. Junior Larry Locker followed up his 27-point outing on Thursday night with 10 points and seven rebounds against McDevitt.
Junior backcourt player Amos Kollie added five points with five rebounds and five assists in taking over the point from Ryan Parise. Additionally, Elijah Eberly added 11 points and was a presence in the low post.
But here’s where it gets interesting. The Bears have 12 games remaining, including Friday night’s Section Two matchup against Garden Spot. There also are two non-league games as the backend of a pair of Saturday back-to-backs that should have the team tested and poised come February.
However, if the point guard Ryan Parise is unable to play for a significant stretch of time, there’s no telling where the team will be come February.