NW girls compete in summer tourney
The Northwestern girls basketball team has spent the summer at a team camp at Penn State, while also competing in summer league play. But the entire group of Lady Tigers had not taken the court together all summer.
That changed over this past weekend, as head coach Chris Deutsch got to see how his team would look at full strength at the A-Town Showdown Divaz basketball tournament.
The results have the longtime head coach optimistic. Northwestern went 2-1 in pool play, and then beat Parkland on Sunday morning of the eight-team single elimination tournament. The Lady Tigers’ run came to an end against eventual runner-up Bethlehem Catholic.
“This is the first time all summer that we’ve had everyone together,” Deutsch said on Saturday. “So that’s a positive sign. And to play three different styles of play is good. We got to play a CD East team that is very athletic, a Nazareth team that is patient and executes phenomenally, and Whitehall is a very scrappy team.”
One thing Deutsch was pleased to see was how his team closed out a close game against Whitehall on its final game of Saturday. Sydney Sevrain came up with a steal in the final seconds and assisted on an Emily Mack layup to take a 29-28 lead. That play ultimately decided the game as Northwestern’s defense held firm.
Sevrain scored a game-high nine points in the win, and she will likely be relied upon to score heavily come the winter season. But it was that steal and assist that proved to be this biggest play of the game. She also won the tournament’s three-point competition on Saturday.
“We’re only going to have one senior [Sage Christopher] this year,” Deutsch said. “I like our effort. I like us winning two close games today, which is a good sign for us to win close games because with a young team you don’t know what to expect. I think we are going to be in a lot of close games this year.”
Northwestern faced a 28-22 deficit against Whitehall late in the game, but the Lady Tigers went on a 7-0 spurt to close it out. Sevrain hit a clutch three-pointer in that stretch, which proved to be pivotal.
“Everybody is going to be keying on Sevrain this year and Emily Sekerak, but we need other girls to step up,” Deutsch said. “That last game, Emily Mack probably made the play of the game there. That’s a huge play for a girl only going to be a sophomore. She really stepped up there.”
Even in their losses—to Nazareth and Bethlehem Catholic—Deutsch saw plenty of positives in two close games. Northwestern came up short 28-24 to the defending East Penn Conference champion Golden Hawks.
“With Nazareth, that’s a buzz saw there,” Deutsch said. “There’s a reason they’ve been in the state playoffs six years in a row. They are really good. But we played well. In that first half it was a three-point game with five minutes to go in the first half, and then they went on a run to end the first half.”
Sekerack presents Northwestern with a solid presence inside at center. She scored seven against the Zephyrs.
But Deutsch was quick to point out that if the Lady Tigers want to win games in November and December, they’ll need contributions across the board.
“For us to be successful this year, in my opinion, we have to trust our teammates,” Deutsch said. “We need all of the girls to step up. Sydney Sevrain will win us games here and there because she is going to carry us. But the good teams that we play, they are going to slow her down a little bit.”
Northampton defeated Bethlehem Catholic for the championship on Sunday.