Parks leads Williamstown past Clearview

Haley Parks of Williamstown is boxed out by Clearview's Alexa Plitt. ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Haley Parks of Williamstown is boxed out by Clearview's Alexa Plitt. ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Posted: January 25, 2013

The sense of relief was clear in Haley Parks' voice.

"This was definitely the first game," she said, "where I really thought, 'OK, I feel like I did last season.' "

Parks, a 5-foot-10 guard, collected 14 points, 10 rebounds, and four steals in the Williamstown girls' basketball team's crucial 50-43 win at Tri-County Conference Royal Division rival Clearview on Thursday night.

Four games into her freshman season, Parks was the Braves' leading scorer. In her fifth game, she suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, cutting short a promising start and stealing a season from what should be a memorable career.

Asked to sum up the experience, Parks took a deep breath, thought for a moment, and tripped over a couple of words.

"It was hard," she said. "But this was a big win and a big confidence-booster for me."

Her road back mirrors the rise of her team. Williamstown is young and laced with talent.

And Thursday, coach Karen Dilmore said, might have been the first time the Braves really put together four full quarters.

"All around, it was just a great job," Dilmore said. "It was a team effort, we're learning how to play together, and hopefully, we can build on this and continue the momentum."

Guard Taylor Walker led the Braves (9-4 overall, 6-0 division) with 17 points, and forward Julia Dixon added 12. Walker, Dixon, and Parks were crucial during a second half when Williamstown pulled away in a back-and-forth game.

The Braves were chasing Clearview (9-4, 5-1) for much of the first three quarters, nearly always trailing by a point or two. But in the fourth quarter, a period that has plagued them at times this season, the Braves went on a 7-2 run to take a 40-37 lead with 4 minutes, 58 seconds left.

The final three minutes were an exercise in patient, precise clock-killing.

"I had the confidence in our ball handlers and our foul shooters," Dilmore said. "I knew that if we got to the foul line, we were going to win that game."

Walker, Dixon, and Parks made big free throws down the stretch.

Parks "is one of the hardest-working kids we have in this program," Dilmore said. "And I think she's finally at that point where she's comfortable out there.

"And our team is settling in, too, which was evident in this win. We're coming together."

Williamstown 13 8 12 17 - 50

Clearview 14 8 11 10 - 43

W: Taylor Walker 17, Jessica Butler 2, Haley Parks 14, Taylor Bynoe 2, Taylor Abbott 3, Julia Dixon 12.

C: Maggie Malane 2, Liz Kramer 8, Kennedi Thompson 18, Laura Coughlan 2, Sarah Kramer 11, Alexa Plitt 2.

Contact Chris Melchiorre


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