Boys beat Catty in OT
Northwestern coach Billy Hallman may want to renegotiate his contract to get paid for overtime after his team went to double-overtime in a loss to Pleasant Valley in the second game of the season and then two games later again went to overtime, this time beating Catasauqua 76-73.
As it turns out, the loss to Pleasant Valley (1-1 EPC, 4-1 overall) is the only blemish on a 4-1 record for the Tigers (3-0 Colonial League, 4-1 overall) with wins over Wilson (3-2, 3-3), Palisades (1-4, 1-5), Catty (2-1, 2-2) and a non-league win over Brandywine Heights. In the win over the Rough Riders, Northwestern had to turn aside a 38-point performance from Isaiah Graves and use fundamentals to get the win.
Deven Bollinger and Sam Yadush went 7-for-7 on free throws in the fourth quarter and Bollinger handled all of Northwestern’s scoring in the overtime period (seven points) to get the win. Free throws had been an issue for Bollinger in his freshman season and even earlier this season, but he’s set out to fix the problem.
“Even last game, he struggled and the next day at practice, the first thing that he did was get on the foul line,” said coach Billy Hallman. “These guys are young, but they’re mature and they know what they have to work on and they do it.”
Bollinger finished with 28 points in the game to lead Northwestern, with Yadush chipping in with 17. Devin Thomas also finished in double figures with 10 points. Much of Bollinger’s success came by pulling in rebounds and converting them into baskets.
“They’re a good team with good guard play, but we knew we had them down-low because we have good size,” said Bollinger. “My goal is to pull down as many rebounds as I can and I was able to do that tonight and put it right back up.”
Graves was dominating early, with 10 first-quarter points. At that point, Northwestern switched from man-to-man defense and temporarily slowed Graves, who had 13 at the half. Graves hit a quick three-pointer to open the third quarter and then a minute later, drove to the basket for a two-pointer that gave him 1,000 points in his career.
“We just had to try to make him work hard and not give him easy buckets,” said Hallman. “I think tonight, we were able to do that and by the end of the game, he was a little bit tired and that’s all you can try to do with him. You know he’s going to get his points, but we try to make him work hard. The other guys are no slouches either. Jaylen Green and Cullen Bond are good players, so you have to make them work hard, too.”
Against Brandywine, it was Yadush who was on fire, hitting four three-pointers and picking up 22 points in the win. Luke Hallman hit three three-pointers to finish with 15, while Bollinger had 12 and Sam Seyfried scored 11 in the 67-55 win.
One issue that has arisen for Northwestern in the early going is playing in the third quarter of games. The Tigers have been outscored 61-44 in the third quarter, including seeing the Rough Riders close a 10-point half-time gap to just one in the third quarter.
“We’re going to talk about it,” said Billy Hallman. “We have a young team and maybe we take our foot off the pedal a little bit, but we’ll work on it and talk about it and we’ll move forward.”
Northwestern has back-to-back Colonial League road games at Southern Lehigh (2-1, 2-1) and Northern Lehigh (1-2, 2-3). After Christmas, they’re at Hamburg next Wednesday before flipping the calendar to 2018.