Northwestern Press

Sunday, March 18, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSage Christopher puts up a shot over a Wilson defender. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSage Christopher puts up a shot over a Wilson defender.

Wilson puts up 70 in playoff win

Thursday, February 15, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Everybody knows that the high-powered offense of the Northwestern girls basketball team can put points on the board and it used that power, combined with a strong defense, to work its way through the Colonial League season. In the opening round of the league playoffs, the Tigers scored 67 points, equaling their season-high, which they had done twice before. Unfortunately, they set a new season-high for points given up when Wilson nailed nine three-pointers and eliminated Northwestern with a 70-67 upset.

“If you would have told me we were going to score 67 points, I would have felt pretty good about how the game would end up,” said Lady Tiger head coach Chris Deutsch. “But you can’t give up 70 points and win too many games.”

The Warriors went for the long ball early and often, with many of their three-point shots coming from well beyond the arc. Ashley Errico led the way with five three-pointers, all of which came in the second and third quarters, leading her to a team-high 21 points. Teammate Ally Quinn hit on three three-pointers and finished the game with 20 points for the Warriors. It was Quinn who got things going with her first shot of the night, when she hit from three-feet beyond the arc to bring Wilson within one at 7-6.

It also didn’t help that both Gabby and Sydney Sevrain got into early foul trouble, collecting three fouls each in the first half of the game. Sydney Sevrain fouled out just 44 seconds into the fourth quarter and Gabby followed just about a minute later. Abby Chisdak would also foul out with 17 seconds left in the game.

Freshmen Alexandra Lister and Emily Sekerak, who came off the bench when the Sevrain sisters got into foul trouble, both played well. Lister helped out defensively, while Sekerak hit for four points in the fourth quarter.

“They played very well for us and in a big game, too,” said Deutsch. “I was really happy with the production that we got off the bench. It’s tough to play with two of your starters in foul trouble for much of the game, but I was proud of our effort.”

Northwestern led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, but the Warriors cut it to 17-11 at the end of the first eight minutes. From there, Wilson went on a 19-5 run and took its first lead with 4:17 left before half-time, going on to outscore Northwestern 26-13 in the second quarter. The Tigers tied the game 27-27 on a put-back by Leighanna Lister with 2:50 left before the break, but again, Wilson went on a run and led by seven at the half.

“We just couldn’t cut their run short,” said Deutsch. “Everything that we tried just didn’t work and they did everything right, hitting threes, hitting foul shots. They played a phenomenal game.”

The Lady Warriors worked their way to an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter and just as it looked like Northwestern was going to go on a run of its own, Quinn nailed three successive foul shots and Gaby Vega hit a three-pointer to put the lead back to 11.

Even with two starters out of the game, Northwestern seemed determined to pull the game out and scored seven unanswered points. Lister, who finished with a game-high 24 points, hit two free throws and then drove the lane to cut Wilson’s lead to just one with 33-seconds left to play.

Wilson calmly hit foul shots, with Errico and Quinn hitting on seven of their eight foul shots in the final quarter, leaving the Warriors up by three with just seven seconds left to play. The Lady Tigers weren’t able to get an open look for a three, so they worked the ball down low hoping for a basket and a foul, but neither happened and the buzzer sounded the end of Northwestern’s league playoff run.

The Lady Tigers will now have some time off before going into the District 11 playoffs, which begin next week. Deutsch is going to use the time to rework some of their game plan and possibly add a few wrinkles.

“This is where you really have to be playing well now, because one loss and your season is over and for the seniors, it means the end of their high school careers,” said Deutsch. “I think we’re going to bounce back well and we’ll be ready to play whoever we get in the first round.”