Tiger boys play three games at Stellar
Head coach Billy Hallman and his Tiger boys basketball team experienced much of everything in the recent Stellar "Catch A Rising Star" Basketball Showcase.
There was a close, competitive game against a out-of-the-area team in Twin Valley. There was a decisive victory against a fellow Colonial League foe in Pen Argyl. And there was a matchup against a far more talented and athletic squad from out of the area in Bonner Prendergast.
While the scoreboard at the end of play in the five-day event showed a 1-2 record for Northwestern, Hallman was pleased at the outing his team put forth in front of the big crowds at Allentown's Cedar Beach Park. Like this week's SportsFest's "A-Town Throwdown," tournaments like Stellar is exactly what this group of Tigers needs to prepare for the upcoming winter season.
"We're building up there," Hallman said. "Our goal, again as it always is, is to get to .500 and play some extra games every year. Playing in an atmosphere like this is going to help you hopefully when we reach those games."
It was also good in the sense that the Tigers were without one of their two players that played significant varsity time in 2015, yet still produced solid play on the court.
"That's another positive I take out of it," Hallman said. "The first game [against Twin Valley] was close. We played well the second game [against Pen Argyl]. This game [against Bonner Prendergast] was what it was. But without Brady, we still played pretty well."
Saturday saw the Tigers finish on both ends of the pendulum. Following their 49-36 win against Pen Argyl in one of the first games of the morning, Northwestern faced Bonner Prendergast hours later. But the result wasn't wasn't as friendly for the Tigers.
Northwestern, after falling behind 21-6 near the midway point of the first half, starred a 30-13 deficit at halftime. Bonner Prendergast's defense and length wouldn't let the Tigers muster anything in the final 20 minutes en route to a 56-22 victory.
"I don't think we were shell-shocked this afternoon," Hallman said. "I think we were a little gassed, and they were the better basketball team."
But to open the morning, Hallman saw the Tigers' best afternoon of the summer, which includes a seven-week stint in the Stellar Summer League.
"This morning, we came out and we played the best we have played all summer against Pen Argyl," Hallman said. "Today, I think we were a little tired. Obviously they [Bonner Prendergast] are a really good basketball team.
"They're long and lanky, and they can get up and down the court. We struggled with their pressure, but it was a good weekend. Nothing but good coming out of it."
Hallman particularly liked how the Tigers used the transition game to their advantage against Pen Argyl.
"We got up and down the floor defensively and offensively," Hallman said. "We moved the ball on offense, and we shared the basketball. When we do that, we get open and we get wide-open layups. It makes the game a whole lot easier."
The Tigers open play in SportsFest against Reading on Friday at 7 p.m. at Cedar Beach's Court 3. Stroudsburg and Dieruff are also in the Tigers' pool.