Boys drop two in a row
One gets the feeling that at any time, Northwestern Lehigh boys basketball team is going to start flexing its muscles and start blowing teams off the court. The up-and-down season continued with a current two-game slide against Kutztown and Palmerton, breaking up a three-game winning streak, with all three wins coming on the road against Colonial League teams. That’s just the way the season has gone, at least so far.
“We can play better,” said coach Billy Hallman. “Right now, we’re playing well, but we just can’t quite put everything together consistently.”
Catasauqua (1-12 overall, 1-9 Colonial League) gave the Tigers a scare when it put up a big third quarter and turned a 32-26 halftime deficit into a 41-38 lead after the third quarter. Northwestern regrouped and left town with a 54-53 win over the Rough Riders, giving them three straight wins and their second one-point win in a row. Just one night before the win in Catasauqua, the Tigers picked up a 68-67 win at Palisades.
Northwestern had three players in double-digits in scoring against Palisades with Deven Bollinger scoring a game-high 16 points and Devin Thomas (13) and Sam Yadush (12) also having strong nights.
The following night, wrapping up three games in three days, it was another one-point game, but this time Northwestern was on the losing end in a 59-58 game at Kutztown.
“We had that break over the holidays and now, we’re right back into another tough stretch of games,” said Hallman. “It evens out though because we get three straight at home, but time-wise it’s still going to be tough because we have another three games in four days stretch coming up.”
With just one night to rest, Northwestern fell to Palmerton 81-72 Monday night even behind a 23-point night from Yadush and an 18-point performance from Bollinger. Thomas also was in double-digits with 15 points.
The problem was that defensively, Northwestern didn’t have an answer for Palmerton’s Nate Dougherty, who scored 36 points. Much of the damage that Dougherty did came from the free throw line where he went 11-for-13.
The schedule has Northwestern home Friday night in a non-conference game against Lehighton (4-10) and then another home game against Southern Lehigh (7-7, 7-3) next Tuesday. The Spartans downed Northwestern 51-42 early in the season, handing the Tigers their first loss. The good news is that the schedule evens out the rest of the way with just two sets on back-to-back games with a few days off before and each twin-bill.
“We’ll be OK,” said Hallman in his usual calm way. “We’re playing well. There are always things we can do better. We just have to find a way to get hot and hopefully we’ll be peaking at the right time.”