Rob Rose (@RobRoseSports)
Philadelphia sports fans of a certain age can remember many nights when Flyers’ goaltender Bernie Parent shut down opposing offenses and secured a win for his team.
Parent’s ability to save shots and anchor an elite defense secured him a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but the family’s defensive dominance didn’t end when the Philadelphia sports legend retired.
Bernie Parent (above), grandson of the former Flyers goaltender, showed off his family's penchant for defense in CR North's win. (Photo: Rob Rose/CoBL)
On Wednesday night, the former goalie’s grandson who goes by the same name, Bernie Parent, saved his Council Rock North boys’ basketball squad from falling to a three-game losing streak, after an undefeated start to the season, with a 47-36 comeback win at Neshaminy.
“I think when we got to 4-0, we might have been, not satisfied, but just, like, natural human instinct is to be happy with where we're at,” the younger Parent said. “Losing those two games really got us back mentally locked in coming in knowing we had to win and it was just great to come out here and really take care of business.”
Just like his grandfather did years ago for the Flyers, Parent starred for Council Rock North on Wednesday. The senior's defense was key in shutting down a Neshaminy offense that had previously scored at least 55 points in each game.
Parent switched onto Neshaminy sophomore guard Emeer Coombs after a teammate got into foul trouble and stepped up to the challenge. Council Rock North coach Jesse Krasna complimented Coombs and said the 5-foot-8 guard is going to be a great player, though he scored just two points and struggled to start the Neshaminy offense for most of the game.
“That's another thing about Bernie, sometimes your star player takes plays off on the defensive end, but ever since he's been here, he's been so committed to that and always a really good team defender and help defender,” Krasna said. “As a senior, he's worked really hard to become a lockdown on-the-ball defender too, but it all really starts with his mindset of putting the team first and that's something that he's done ever since he's stepped on the floor here for us.”
Parent has been part of the varsity squad since his freshman season, but played primarily on the perimeter. Headed into his final high school campaign, he decided to make an effort to put on size in the weight room and become a presence in the paint.
The 6-2, 180-pound guard said he added 10 pounds over the offseason and it showed against Neshaminy on Wednesday. While both teams battled bad starts in a low-scoring first half, Parent had eight points and they all came either in the paint or at the foul line.
Parent finished tied for a team-high 14 points with junior Jack Blum.
Krasna said Parent looks up to Villanova guard Collin Gillespie and tries to emulate his game so he can complement his defense with an all-around skill set on offense. Parent is unsure if he will attempt to play in college, but his coach believes he belongs there if that’s his choice.
Bernie Parent (13) played tough defense on Neshaminy's Emeer Coombs, limiting him to two points. (Photo: Rob Rose/CoBL)
“He's a three-level scorer and there’s not that many guys that can score at all three levels,” Krasna said. “I know he's going to keep getting better if that's the route he chooses to go. Each year, in the offseason his game has just grown and grown and grown and there's no doubt in my mind he would make a college program better right away.”
While his future in basketball is uncertain, Parent’s focus on this season is not. He wants to lead Council Rock North to a Suburban One Patriot division title and into the district playoffs. Wednesday night’s win was a big step toward doing that.
After losses to tough teams in Notre Dame and Bensalem, a road win over the reigning division champion Neshaminy showed Parent what type of talent his team has if they play up to the level they did when the season started.
“It's really important not to string together losses, especially in a tough, tough division like this,” Parent said. “We knew coming out that Neshaminy had some great wins this year and in our minds it was a must-win game and we came out and took care of business. We have big goals and this was a huge win to achieve those goals.”
CR North 7 | 10 | 16 | 14 || 47
Neshaminy 8 | 10 | 6 | 12 || 36
CR: Bernie Parent 14, Jack Blum 14, Adam Mahtat 11, Logan Saifer 4, Shane Anhalt 3, Ryan Burkett 1.
N: Evan Esposito 11, Kade Benjamin 10, Nate Townsend 6, Sean Curley 4, Nunzio Zydzik 3, Emeer Coombs 2.