Lady Tigers fall to Spartans
They might not get to hang a banner in the gym. But the Lady Tigers' season was still a successful one.
The team won 20 straight games, finished the regular season at 21-1 overall and 15-1 in Colonial League play.
Three losses in their last five games wasn't the way anyone thought the season would end, but it shouldn't take away from the pride this team can take in all it accomplished.
"I look back at the season as a success," said Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch. "To win 22 games is not by accident. There's more to life than winning championships. These girls in my mind are all champions."
Deutsch praised his two seniors, Sara Jones and Kaleen Suter, for helping the program return to prominence.
"I just want to thank the two seniors for what they meant to this program" he said. "Four years ago we had three wins. Those are the only two that stuck it out. The two seniors are going to be successful in life after high school basketball. They set the bar for this program."
Northwestern's season ended Saturday with a 31-29 loss to North Schuylkill in a District 11 Class AAA quarterfinal at Pottsville's Martz Hall.
The Lady Spartans played solid defense and out-rebounded the Tigers, taking an early lead and keeping for most of the game.
The Tigers (22-3) shot just 1 for 13 in the fourth quarter, including missing three attempts in the final seconds that could have tied the game. They made just three of 22 three-point attempts in their second-lowest scoring performance of the season.
"We couldn't make a shot," said Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch. "If you would have told me before the game we would hold them to 31 points, I would have said we'll win going away. They were in a zone and we just could not make a shot."
Northwestern, the No. 4 seed, trailed most of the first half before pulling ahead twice in the third quarter. The teams went into the fourth tied at 24, but the No. 5 seed Spartans (20-4) scored the first six points of the period and held a 30-24 lead with 3:01 left in the game.
Three Northwestern players got off shots in the final 10 seconds, but Mertz, Erika Thomas and Jones all missed their attempts before the buzzer sounded.
"We were very patient there at the end," said Deutsch. "I liked the shots that we did get. We got two or three shots that were good looks."
Segan scored a game-high nine points. Gregas and Lopotsky scored eight each for the Spartans.
As he has done all season long, Deutsch commended his staff for its contributions to the program, including varsity assistants Bob Mazziotta and Wayne Horn; JV coach Billy Hallman; freshman coaches Shannon and Mike Kistler; and middle school coaches Nate Hunsicker and Troy Reinert.
"They're willing to do whatever it takes for the sake of the team," Deutsch said. "I couldn't have better assistants. They work behind the scenes and don't always get the credit they deserve, but they get credit from me. We're fortunate to have the staff we do.
Marone 0-0-0-0, Lapotsky 3-2-6-8, Zimmerman 1-0-0-2, Paul 2-0-0-4, Reinoehl 0-2-4-2, Bolinsky 0-0-0-0, Spotts 1-2-4-4, Gregas 3-2-2-8, Damiter 1-0-0-3. TOTALS: 11-8-16-31.
Mertz 1-0-2-3, Landrigan 0-0-0-0, Jones 2-2-2-6, Suter 2-0-0-5, Segan 4-0-1-9, Thomas 0-0-0-0, Cunningham 3-0-0-6. TOTALS: 12-2-5-29.
No. Schuylkill 6 7 11 7 – 31
Northwestern 4 6 14 5 – 29
Three-pointers: NS – Damiter 1; NW – Mertz 1, Suter 1, Segan 1.