Tigers go 2-2 in Bash at the Beach
Northwestern head coach Billy Hallman was without three starters from the winter when the Tigers competed in last week’s Bash at the Beach basketball tournament at Cedar Beach. A fourth was even missing over the weekend for some of the tournament.
But that didn’t stop the Tigers from making some noise in the newly formatted event. Northwestern went 2-2 in the small school tournament, picking up wins over North Schuylkill and Panther Valley on Saturday, before its run came to an end.
“We did a lot of things well,” Hallman said. “This is new for everybody. We’re young. We lost five seniors and three starters. We have guys in positions that they haven’t been in before. [Friday against Catasauqua] it might have cost us with our decision making, but tonight [Saturday against North Schuylkill] we made better decisions with the ball.”
Rising senior Sean McCann was the only starter from the winter season that played against North Schuylkill on Saturday. He helped the Tigers pull away late as Deven Bollinger (a starter from last season) and Nick Henry (who played varsity sparingly) missed the game due to football commitments.
Luke Hallman started for about half of last season as well, but is still recovering from an ACL injury. The graduations of point guard Sam Yadush and forward Devin Thomas also leave voids for Hallman, particularly at the point guard position where All-Colonial League selection Yadush must be replaced.
Hallman is still unsure who will step into that role, and has been testing out a few scenarios during the summer.
“We don’t know yet,” Hallman said. “Here it’s been McCann. Vinny Castrine is a senior and he came back out after not playing last year. He can help. Nick Henry ran it in JV last year. He’s not really a point guard, but he did it by need, so it could be him. If Luke comes back and plays it could be him.”
After grinding out that win over North Schuylkill, the Tigers disposed of the Schuylkill League’s Panther Valley via a 55-44 victory that sent Northwestern onto its third game on Saturday against Colonial League foe Salisbury.
While Bollinger and Henry were back, the eventual champion Falcons were too much to overcome. Salisbury’s Patrick Foley scored 15 points as the Falcons erased a 22-14 first-half lead for Northwestern. The Tigers got 13 from Bollinger and led 39-34 in the final minutes before the Falcons closed the game on a 10-3 spurt.
While the return of Bollinger and Henry helped Northwestern keep its tournament hopes alive, Hallman was pleased with a number of underclassmen throughout the Tigers’ two days at Cedar Beach. He’ll certainly need a few of those underclassmen to step up in the winter.
“Jared Stitzel just works hard,” Hallman said. “He does everything right. Andres Garrido is the same way. They haven’t played any varsity, but they go to all of our summer league games and work hard, and they’ve gotten better since we started not that long ago.”
Northwestern dropped its opening game on Friday night against Catasauqua in double overtime. This was the first year the tournament separated boys varsity teams into small-school and large-school brackets.
“It’s a lot of Colonial League teams, but it’s good,” Hallman said. “I like to play different teams. I’m not saying I don’t like to play big schools, but it’s a little more even of a playing field.”
Salisbury defeated Palmerton for the small school championship, 46-41. Wilson West Lawn captured the large school title by taking down Easton, 58-45. A 44-38 win for Jim Thorpe handed the Olympian girls the championship over Dunmore.