Girls earn split on opening weekend
Northwestern opened the girls basketball season with a split in a pair of games against Eastern Pennsylvania Conference opponents.
The Tigers beat Whitehall in Friday night’s season opener, then fell to Allen in a Saturday afternoon game.
“I think we’re encouraged,” said Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch. “You don’t know what to expect. You practice 15 days. You get two scrimmages. Last year at this point we were 0-2.
“There’s still a lot of work ahead. We have to get back to work on Monday. We have a great group of young ladies who work hard. Once we get to league play I think we’re going to be all right.”
The Tigers fell behind early in both of their first two games. Friday night the host Zephyrs opened an 8-2 lead after one quarter before the Tigers went 7-for-10 from the free throw line to come back and take an 18-12 halftime lead.
Northwestern sealed the 40-36 opening-night win by going 8-for-10 at the foul line line in the fourth quarter.
Jess Williamson scored a team-high 10 points by going 8-for-8 at the charity stripe. Sydney Sevrain added eight points, while Leighanna Lister scored seven points against Whitehall.
Less than 24 hours later the Tigers were back on the court against Allen.
The Chicks defense and rebounding kept the Tigers scorelss in the first quarter, 8-0.
This time, Northwestern wasn’t able to fight back. Allen’s Kion Andrews (game-high 22 points) and Jakayla Wise hit three-pointers early in the second quarter to give their team a 14-2 lead.
“We got off to a slow start,” said Deutsch. “We really dug ourselves a hole today. We didn’t score in the first quarter. That happened yesterday too. That’s one thing we need to do a better job of is getting off to a good start.”
The Tigers used foul shooting to cut into the lead. Williamson, Sage Christopher and Gabby Sevrain all made foul shots late in the second quarter to get cut Allen’s lead to 25-17 at halftime.
Despite Andrews erupting for eight third-quarter points, Northwestern trailed by 11 before Wise hit a three to end the period and give the Chicks a 42-28 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Allen got second and third shots on many of its third-quarter possessions as it out-rebounded Northwestern 17-8 in the period and 42-33 in the game.
“Before the game that was one of our keys,” said Deutsch. “They were a little stronger for the rebounds today. I thought that was a big difference. They have some big, bruising girls who are very physical. We don’t see a lot of that in the Colonial League.”
The Tiger never got within 12 points of the lead in the fourth quarter en route to a 61-45 loss.
Williamson and Gabby Sevrain each had eight points against Allen. Lister and Christopher had seven points each in the game.
The two nonleague games should help prepare the Tigers for their league schedule, which began Tuesday against Palisades and continues Thursday at Catasauqua and Friday with a nonleague home game against Lehighton, which opened its season with wins over Palmerton and Saucon Valley.
“That’s why we scheduled these nonleague games,” said Deutsch. “Because you find out what you need to work on. It’s going to take some time. I like scheduling tough nonleague games. This helps us. We’ve just got to bounce back.”