Northwestern Press

Thursday, May 24, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZMackenzie Hess takes the ball to the basket against Northern Lehigh. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZMackenzie Hess takes the ball to the basket against Northern Lehigh.

Girls earn place in league playoffs

Thursday, February 1, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

With it’s current five-game win streak, the Northwestern Lehigh girls basketball team has clinched spots in both the Colonial League and District 11 playoffs.

The win that put the Tigers over the top was a 54-25 pounding of Palmerton, but the night before, they downed rival Northern Lehigh 57-29 to move closer to their goal of reaching the postseason.

It’s been all about defense lately for the Lady Tigers (13-2 Colonial, 15-4 overall). When they went up against Northern Lehigh, they were facing a team that averages just over 40 points per game this season, but held them to just 29 points.

Against Northern Lehigh, the Tigers defense dominated on the boards, giving themselves extra scoring opportunities and created turnovers, to limit the scoring options for the Bulldogs.

“Our defense creates a lot of our offense and I thought we got better as we went along,” said Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch after the win over Northern Lehigh. “When we get into an open-court type of game, we’re really good in the transition game and when we’re converting well from defense to offense, I think we’re really good and we’re as good as anybody in the league at getting up-and-down the court. That’s the way we practice and that’s the way that we want to play.”

Northwestern’s defense has also done well in avoiding fouls. Against the Bulldogs, Northwestern wasn’t called for a foul in the third quarter and had just one in the final eight minutes, which came in the last minute of the game. The Tigers went almost a full 20 minutes without committing a foul.

While the defense has been on a roll, the offense continues to get contributions from a number of different players. In the win over Northern Lehigh, Leighanna Lister scored 17 points. Against Palmerton, Sydney Sevrain had 16 and her sister Gabby had 11. Against Moravian Academy, Abby Chisdak had 14 and Sydney Sevrain had 13.

Lister, a senior, believes that the team is playing well right now and admits that the seniors feel a bit of urgency to make things happen in their final season of high school basketball.

“It’s really important for all five of us seniors and we’re giving it all we’ve got, because we want to go far,” said Lister, who will be attending Georgian Court University in the fall. “We’ve all been playing together for a long time and we play well together on the court and we’re good friends off the court.

“The whole team tries to stay very focused at practices and we’re really taking it game-by-game, because a lot of the teams have really good players. We just stay focused hard on each game and take care of it.”

Northwestern wraps up the season with two home games, hosting Salisbury (7-7, 8-10) and Catasauqua (2-15, 4-16) before heading into the Colonial League playoffs.