Girls fall to SL in league semifinals
Things got off to a rough start for the Northwestern girls basketball team in its semifinal game against Southern Lehigh last week. Things only got worse as the game went on.
For the second game in a row, Northwestern (20-4) was in early foul trouble and turned the ball over at an unusually high rate. The result was a 55-18 loss to the Lady Spartans, who went on to play Notre Dame-Green Pond (21-2) in the Colonial League championship game.
After jumping out to a 4-0 lead, trouble seemed to set in for the Tigers. With 5:34 left in the first quarter, Sage Christopher picked up her second foul of the night and headed for the bench in favor of Tess Ledeboer.
As a team, the Tigers had four fouls in the first three minutes. They also turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter. The turning point for Southern Lehigh (20-3) came when Jeanne Rautureau and Olivia Snyder picked up steals on back-to-back Northwestern possessions and drove the length of the court for layups. The thievery turned a 4-4 game into an 8-4 Spartan lead and Southern Lehigh would never trail after that. Even with the rough start, Northwestern trailed by just a 10-5 score going into the second quarter.
“I thought we didn’t play that badly in the first quarter,” said Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch. “We had some foul trouble and certainly didn’t play our best, but we were only down by five, so I wasn’t too concerned.
What Deutsch didn’t know at the end of the first quarter was that the little jumper that Snyder hit with two seconds left would start a 20-0 Spartans run that saw the Southern Lehigh defense completely take over the game in the second quarter, holding Northwestern scoreless for over 11 full minutes of game time.
“We weren’t hitting anything, now some of that was due to their defense,” Deutsch said. “They’re a very good defensive team. A lot of it though was that we just didn’t hit the open looks we had. We had 10-foot jumpers that were air balls and players who hit 80 percent from the foul line were missing a bunch of foul shots. Credit them, but to be honest, we didn’t do our part to keep ourselves in the game.”
By the end of the third quarter, Southern Lehigh was up by 36 points, thanks in part to a half-court buzzer-beater from Kaya Mobley. The fourth quarter was a battle of the benches as Southern Lehigh just rode out the quarter to reach Saturday’s championship game.
Olivia Snyder finished with 25 points for the Lady Spartans and Ellie Cassel finished with 10. Cassel was also making things tough on Northwestern Lehigh on the boards, pulling down 11 rebounds in the game. Emily Sekerak led Northwestern with seven points on the night.
Southern Lehigh swept the three meetings between the two teams this season by a combined score of 151-82.
“They just have our number, I guess,” said Deutsch. “It just goes to show that they are a really good team.”
The Lady Tigers will play Allentown Central Catholic (14-9) in the first round of the District 11 tournament Saturday at 1 p.m. at Northern Lehigh.
Deutsch planned to give his team last weekend off and come back to practice Monday ready to work and prepare for Central Catholic.
“We just have to regroup and I think that we will. And we have to come out and hit shots,” said Deutsch of what his team needs to do before it opens District 11 tournament play a week from Saturday. “We have to hit shots, that’s what it all comes down to. I just told them to flush this one down the toilet. That’s all you can do with a game like this one.”
There was some good news for Northwestern Lehigh last week. Senior Sage Christopher and junior Sydney Sevrain were named Colonial League second team all-stars. Sophomore Emily Sekerak was given an honorable mention.
Bleam 0-0-0-0, Betz 1-0-0-2, Motolese 1-0-0-2, Lister 1-2-5-4, Jones 0-0-0-0, Ledeboer 0-0-0-0, Sevrain 0-0-0-0, Hess 0-0-0-0, Sekerak 2-3-5-7, Christopher 0-1-2-1, Dorney 0-0-0-0, Giese 1-0-1-2, Funk 0-0-0-0, TOTALS 6-6-13-18
Walter 1-0-0-2, Wilkins 2-0-0-6, Moncman 2-0-0-4, Snyder 10-5-7-25, Bennett 0-0-0-0, Rautureau 2-1-2-5, Schmitt 0-0-0-0, Rice 0-0-0-0, Cassel 3-4-6-10, Mobley 1-0-0-3, TOTALS 21-10-15-55
N’western 5 0 6 7 – 18
So. Lehigh 10 18 19 8 – 55
Three-pointers: NWL – none; SL – Wilkins 2, Mobley 1.