The Parkway Central girls basketball team will try to set a school record when it returns to the court Tuesday, Jan. 9.
The Colts [10-1] will attempt to win its 11th game in a row when they host the Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats. The junior varsity game begins at 4:30 p.m.
“Our 10-game winning streak matches the longest streak on record for the team,” Colts coach Brian Guilfoyle said.
The Colts opened the season with a 64-44 loss to Parkway North. Since then, Guilfoyle’s girls have been undefeated.
Parkway Central enters the game fresh off of winning the Parkway West Classic. The Colts defeated Marquette 49-31 to claim the championship.
Guilfoyle said his squad looked good coming into the Classic. The Colts came into the tournament at 7-1.
“The team was playing pretty well,” Guilfoyle said. “[In] some games, we were struggling with team concepts. We are very young, so each game brings its own challenges.”
This was the third year the Colts have played in the Parkway West Classic.
“Our first year we were second place,” Guilfoyle said. “Last year, we were third.” It’s a good event to play in, he said. “The top teams in the tournament were very good. Any of the top four or five teams had a chance to win it.”
Parkway Central opened tourney play with a 50-20 win over Northwest. Guilfoyle liked how well the Colts looked in this game.
“The girls played well and controlled the game from the beginning,” he said. “We pressured them and created a lot of easy baskets.”
Things were different in the semifinal against Fort Zumwalt South. Parkway Central prevailed 57-51 in a marathon game that went into triple overtime.
It was an unforgettable win for the Colts. Plenty of drama was created and big plays were made.
“This was a great battle,” Guilfoyle said. “We had an eight-point lead with about 4 minutes [left]. The team had some rookie turnovers and silly fouls that resulted in them scoring. Both teams played extremely hard. Fort Zumwalt South is very well coached and really battled.
“We had a freshman [Cynaa Coleman] who came off the bench and hit a huge 3-pointer that helped determine the game. In the third overtime, we were able to play sound defense and held them scoreless to win the game.
“Basically the game was 5 and 1/2 quarters long so it took a toll on the girls. We shortened our practice the next day so they could rest.”
That helped the Colts be ready for the Mustangs in the championship contest.
Guilfoyle noticed his squad enthusiastic to play the game.
“Against Marquette, we came out really excited, almost too much,” Guilfoyle said. “We had to calm down and play fundamental basketball. It was only a two-point game at halftime. We were struggling on defense and really concentrated on that in the second half.
“Our girls stepped up and shut down their offense in the third quarter, which opened up the game. We limited their second-chance shots by rebounding and took care of the basketball on offense.”
His squad responded well, Guilfoyle said. The girls played smart basketball.
“Mentally, we slowed down our play which helped us execute,” Guilfoyle said. “By the end of the third quarter, it was a 15-point game and the girls finished strong. Marquette was a well-coached team and really challenged us.”
Parkway Central finished with a 49-31 win over the Mustangs.
“The girls were very excited,” Guilfoyle said. “I think they still have some goals this season that have not been fulfilled but this was one that they all worked hard for and deserved. I couldn’t be more proud of the team.”
Three Colts were honored on the all-tournament team: sophomore Jayla Kelly, sophomore Kennedy Moore and junior Olivia Stephens. But all of his girls played well in the tournament, Guilfoyle said.
“Each game it was a different group of kids that stepped up,” Guilfoyle said. “It took the entire team to have success, which hopefully translates into the rest of the season. Jayla Kelly had an amazing tournament with 14 points, 14 rebounds and nine blocks in the semifinal. In the championship game, she had 11 points, 17 rebounds and eight blocks.”
Going forward, Guilfoyle knows what he wants from his Colts.
“I want to see us continue to grow and implement new concepts on offense and defense,” Guilfoyle said. “We need to continue to come together and play unselfish basketball while thinking about the team first.”