Girls use size to top Falcons
For the Salisbury seniors, Saturday afternoon was the final time that they would take to their home court and the Northwestern Lady Tigers made it a forgettable experience. Northwestern ran away with a 60-18 win.
Northwestern was able to take advantage of a distinct height advantage and continued to pound the ball down low to Emily Sekerak and Sage Christopher.
The plan worked offensively as Christopher finished with a game-high 14 and Sekerak had 13 points. Most of their points came in the first half.
The strategy also worked defensively as Sekerak collected her fifth rebound with 4:30 still left to play in the first quarter. She finished with 10 rebounds, while Christopher pulled down seven.
“We knew that we would have a size advantage and we were able to use that,” said Northwestern coach Chris Deutsch. “Then, we just had a good night shooting and it all came together.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, because Salisbury is the type of team that can catch you when they’re playing well and I didn’t want our girls to take them lightly.”
Even with the size advantage, Northwestern led by just seven points after one quarter as Salisbury came out firing from the outside to avoid getting tangled among the taller Northwestern (18-3, 13-3) players.
The Falcons’ Erica Holben and Melena Koutch each hit three-pointers in the first quarter to keep Salisbury (3-19, 3-14) in the game. Northwestern looked to shut down Salisbury’s outside game and shut down the Lady Falcon offense in the second quarter, holding them to just three points. Sekerak and Christopher combined for 25 first-half points and the Tigers led 36-11 at halftime.
Northwestern had one of those stretches where nearly every shot that the Tigers put up went in as they again outscored Salisbury 18-5 in the third quarter to open up a 54-16 lead.
Koutch and Quinn Wittman led Salisbury with five points each in the loss.
Alex Lister finished with 10 points for the Tigers. After the game she pointed out that she wasn’t surprised by the fact that Northwestern, despite being a young team, has played so well throughout the season.
“I saw this coming, because we all play with a lot of heart and we want to go further than we did last year, so I think we all knew this was possible,” Lister said.
Northwestern followed up their win over Salisbury with a 64-25 win over Catasauqua (3-18, 0-16) Tuesday night. Sydney Sevrain drained three three-pointers and shot five-of-six from the foul line to lead all scorers with 18 points. Sekerak chipped in with 10 for Northwestern.
The late season schedule featured a week-long layoff because of snow and then games against three struggling teams to wrap up the season. Some teams may fall into a trap and lose some intensity, but Lister doesn’t see that happening with Northwestern.
“You never want to fall short to anyone,” she said. “It’s easy to play down to someone’s level, but we know what we’re playing for and as long as we come out strong, we’re going to be okay.”
“We’re still playing for district seeding, so we have to win these games,” said Deutsch. “A goal is, obviously, to win and then to get a lot of girls into these games to keep them sharp. Mainly, it’s about staying healthy heading into the playoffs.”
The Lady Tigers open the Colonial League playoffs Friday night with a home game. Their opponent is yet to be officially determined, but the Bangor Slaters (14-5, 12-5) would appear to be their most likely opponent. Northwestern downed Bangor 43-39 early last month on the road.