CHAMPAIGN -- Both Parkland basketball teams tip things off at their national tournaments this week. The men are in Danville, while the women Arkansas starting Tuesday.
The Parkland Women's Basketball Team isn't shy about its expectations.
"Our goal each year is to try to get to nationals," head coach Mike Lindemann said. "That's what we strive for and we talk about that early. Why hide the fact that that's our goal to get there?"
The Cobras did just that, punching their ticket to the national tournament with a win over Illinois Central in the Region 24 Championship.
"When we played the championship game here we were just ready. We were pumped up. We were pumped up from the beginning," guard Kerstyn Lowery added.
Pumped up for another chance at the Cougars who handed the Cobras an 18-point loss back in February.
"The first time we played ICC, they put it to us pretty bad," Lindemann explained. "They got up and down the floor really quick. We just didn't come out ready to play."
The second time was a different story. Parkland beat ICC by 33 after a double-overtime win over Lake Land the night before. The Lakers also knocked off the Cobras earlier this season. Head coach Mike Lindemann credits his team's improvement on defense as the difference.
"Their defense has come along really well," Lindemann continued. "There's some games where we really play. The key is trying to to get them to play for 40 minutes of that defense."
"I think all of us in high school were primarily offensive players, so getting all of us to click on defense and commit to defense took awhile, but it was there once we did it. We can play great defense," Layne Buzan added.
The Cobra's look to take that defense to Harrison, Arkansas for the national tournament next weekend.
"We want to go and do well. Our goal now is to try and play on the last day of the tournament," said Lindemann. "I want them to enjoy it, take it all in, but we're there to play basketball."
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