Boys beat Hawks
Some teams shy away from physical play on the basketball court. All they want to do is run the court and avoid contact, much like a fighter who knows he’s in trouble.
The Northwestern Tigers can run the court with the best of them, but they can also stand their ground and battle. When their recent game against Hamburg took an extremely physical turn, the Tigers used it to their advantage and came away with a 69-51 win, turning what was once a close game into a blowout.
“They were battling a little bit, but we’ve got the football guys to battle back,” said senior Sam Yadush, who led all scorers with 22 points.
It was indeed a football guy, Derek Holmes, who stood his ground when challenged by Hamburg’s Hunter Shuey. The altercation ended just as quickly as it started, but it also sent a big message to the Hawks and lit a bit of a fire under the Tigers.
“It was a battle, but we needed that. Derek [Holmes] came out and put his foot down a little for us and I think it sparked us a little in the second half,” said coach Billy Hallman.
Northwestern led by nine at halftime but stretched that to a 17-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and took it as high as 20 late in the game.
Another spark came from junior Sean McCann, who drained three three-pointers in a row over the span of just over one minute in the second quarter. Not only did McCann’s heroics stretch the lead, but they forced Hamburg to change its defense, which was just what the Tigers needed.
“It was huge,” said Hallman of McCann’s shooting. “It opened the court up for everybody, mainly Sam [Yadush] and they can’t just concentrate on one guy. We were able to space the floor and he’s been working hard in practice and it showed tonight.”
The win gets Northwestern Lehigh back to 4-4 overall record. The Tigers are 3-2 in the Colonial League. A tough slate of games coming in quick succession to start the season had Northwestern on its heels a little, but extra days off and a return to the basics have helped them to right the ship.
“It’s been a little bumpy,” said Yadush. “We’re 4-0 at home, but we’ve got to work on our 0-4 on the road. We’ve got Bangor coming up next and we’re pretty excited for it, especially coming off of a win.
“We called a team meeting the other day and talked it out and said that we’ve got to buy in to what the coaches are asking us to do, which has been working over the past couple of years. It’s just a matter of getting back to our game and having fun and playing hard.”
Yadush believes that the team learned a lot through some early struggles and can put that to use later in the season and into playoffs.
Hallman has seen a change in the team now that they’ve had a little time to regroup after a three-game losing skid had them at 2-3 to open the season. Since then, a win over league opponent Northern Lehigh and a loss to Pottsville in a nonconference game left the team at 3-4 overall until the win over Hamburg. With plenty of time to rest and work on some things in practice, Northwestern is poised to put their experience to good use when the 2019 portion of the schedule begins tonight.
“They feel fresher,” Hallman said. “The attitudes are more confident coming into games. They’re not dragging and it’s nice to get a bit of a break. We don’t play again for another week, so we’ll get a couple practices in and be ready to go.”
Kennedy 4-2-2-13, Evangelista 3-0-0-6, Adam 5-1-2-11, Barter 3-2-2-8, Shuey 2-0-1-5, Zimmerman 1-0-1-2, Naftzinger 2-0-0-4, Sterner 1-0-0-2, Wolber 0-0-0-0, Schlenker 0-0-0-0. Totals 21 5-8 51.
Seyfried 0-0-0-0, Yadush 7-4-4-22, Bollinger 5-3-7-13, Thomas 3-1-3-7, Hallman 0-0-0-0, Hebelka 1-2-2-4, Snyder 0-2-4-2, McCann 4-2-2-14, Rebert 0-0-0-0, D. Holmes 0-2-4-2, Rosamalia 1-0-1-2, J. Holmes 0-0-0-0, Hagadus 0-1-2-1, Henry 0-0-0-0, Garrido 1-0-0-2. Totals 22-17-29-69.
Hamburg 14 10 15 12 - 51
Northwestern 13 20 16 20 - 69
Three-pointers: H – Kennedy 3, Shuey 1; N – Yadush 4, McCann 4.