Girls go 1-2 in tourney
Almost two weeks ago, the Northwestern girls basketball team’s run to championship Sunday of Stellar Construction’s “Catch A Rising Star” Basketball Showcase included some of the best teams in the tournament.
Much was the same in the recent SportsFest “A-Town Throwdown” tournament that concluded on Sunday. Northwestern, which was paired with Nazareth, Jim Thorpe and Dunmore, went 1-2 in pool play over the first three days of the event. Nazareth was the lone girls team standing when all was said and done, capturing the championship over Northampton by a score of 57-48.
“I thought this was a good weekend for us, and I thought we played some very good teams,” head coach Chris Deutsch said. “That’s what it’s all about. This is where you find out. We find out more in these types of games than when we play teams that are a little weaker.”
The Lady Tigers’ first loss came to eventual champion Nazareth (a district champion in the winter) on Friday, 35-27. But according to Deutsch, the game was a lot more competitive than the eight-point defeat on the scoreboard. Northwestern had the Blue Eagles on their heels late in the second half before a late spurt lifted Nazareth to a quick 1-0 start.
“The Nazareth game yesterday, it was a two-point game with eight minutes left,” Deutsch said. “It was right there, and they just went on a 12-0 spurt in the last eight minutes to put the game away. That game was a lot closer than that final score indicates.”
The following day, Northwestern regrouped to capture its first win of the tournament, a 42-34 victory over Jim Thorpe. A win over Dunmore hours later, a state semifinalist from the winter season, would position the Lady Tigers in good shape for their second straight championship Sunday appearance.
A slow start was the deciding factor in sending Northwestern home on Saturday evening. Despite outscoring Dunmore over the final 20 minutes of play, falling in a 25-10 hole at halftime proved to be too much to overcome in the Lady Tigers’ 45-34 loss.
Incoming junior Gabby Sevrain scored a team-high 12 points for Northwestern, while rising sophomore Sage Christopher pitched in with six points.
“They [Dunmore] execute really well,” Deutsch said. “That’s the only team last year to beat Southern Lehigh [in the regular season]. There may be games this year where Leighanna [Lister] may get two fouls, and we’re just going to keep her in there. We wanted to see today how our other girls would handle if they had to be in there for a long time.”
Lister, Northwestern’s leading returning scorer last year, missed much of the first half against Dunmore with two early fouls. Throw in the fact that starting guard Jessica Williamson also missed much of the game due to an injury, and the Lady Tigers’ were missing two of their regular starters against one of the best teams in the state.
Still, the Lady Tigers didn’t dwell on who wasn’t on the court. They continued to grind until the final whistle. Christopher (all six points in the second half) and Sevrain (six of her 12 in the final 20 minutes) led that second half charge that came up a little short.
“I like where we’re at right now. I like the chemistry on the team…These girls are getting a lot of experience,” Deutsch said. “We got 31 games in this summer, so that was good for us. We got to play a lot of different players. We got some young girls incorporated with our older girls. This is very positive. I’m very encouraged.”
After months of hard work and training, Deutsch and his team will be taking a bit of a break to enjoy the rest of the summer. But before no time, the Lady Tigers will be back in the gym gearing up for December basketball.