Girls fall to Lehighton
Northwestern and Lehighton battled through 10 lead changes and both teams battled back from strong runs by their opponent, but in the end, the Indians downed the Tigers 49-45 last Friday night in New Tripoli.
Lehighton’s Skylynn Faust led all scorers with 28 points in the game and pulled down nine rebounds. The Tigers (2-0 Colonial League, 3-2 overall) actually did have some success shutting down Faust’s shooting in the fourth quarter, holding her to just one basket, but she scorched Northwestern at the line by hitting six of seven foul shots over the final eight minutes.
“I thought we had some mental mistakes tonight, that we had some breakdowns” said coach Chris Deutsch. “One thing that really hurt us was boxing out on missed foul shots and when they did miss a foul shot, they got second and third shots and that really hurt us. When you’re in a four-point game, little things like that can make the biggest difference.”
Faust had 10 first quarter points for Lehighton, staking them to a 17-12 lead at the end of the first eight minutes. Northwestern changed their approach to trying to guard her and held her to just three points in the second quarter.
With Northwestern down 23-18 at the half, they came out hot in the third quarter sparked by a three-pointer from Abby Chisdak just 20 seconds into the second half to cut into Lehighton’s lead. Sydney Sevrain hit a jumper to tie the game and complete a 7-0 run by the Tigers.
The Indians (1-0 Schuylkill League, 5-0 overall) kept their composure and stemmed the momentum on a long three-pointer from Aubrey Blasiak, but again Northwestern responded and took a 27-26 lead on two foul shots from Sage Christopher with 5:09 left in the third quarter.
The lead changed for the final time when Thera Hibbler knocked down a three-pointer to erase a one-point Northwestern lead and put Lehighton up 40-38. After Emily Miller pulled up for a short jumper to put Lehighton up 42-38, it would be all foul shots for the Indians, with Faust hitting six and Julia Frey adding another with just one second left in the fourth quarter to make it a two-possession game and finish off the Tigers.
Sevrain led Northwestern with 15 points and Leighanna Lister scored 12.
Deutsch noted that his team has had three tough nonleague opponents to start the season, playing Eastern Pennsylvania Conference teams Whitehall and Allen before facing Lehighton. The Tigers downed Whitehall, but fell tot Allen. Deutsch is convinced that playing stronger opponents in nonconference games will help them in Colonial League play.
“I’ve liked our effort and I thought our girls played hard,” he said. “I’m not going to use the excuse that this was our fifth game in a week, which is tough, but everybody goes through tough stretches. You also have to give them credit, because they made the plays when they had to.”
Deutsch was also happy with the fact that while Lehighton won its first three games by a combined score of 182-98, with its closest win being by 21 points, the Lady Tigers defense made things tough on the Indians.
“They’re a good team and with Faust and Blasiak, we knew we were going to have a battle on our hands because they’re both so good and closing in on the 1,000-point mark,” said Deutsch, whose team had won its last two games against Palisades and Catasauqua 100-38.