Northwestern Press

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZLuke Hallman scored 16 points in the Tigers’ win over Brandywine Heights last week. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZLuke Hallman scored 16 points in the Tigers’ win over Brandywine Heights last week.

Boys pick up pair of wins after 0-3 start

Sunday, December 22, 2019 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Northwestern Lehigh is back on track in boys basketball.

After an 0-3 start, the Tigers have picked up wins over Brandywine Heights (6-1 overall) and Moravian Academy (3-2 overall, 2-2 Colonial League). The wins came after a near-miss against Southern Lehigh last Friday night when the Spartans came from behind to down Northwestern 62-58.

Against Southern Lehigh (5-1, 4-0), the Tigers had three players in double-digits in scoring, with Nick Henry (19), Deven Bollinger (13) and Sean McCann (12) all having big nights. Northwestern led through the first three quarters, but Southern Lehigh came back to have a big fourth quarter and grab the win.

Northwestern (2-3, 1-3) didn’t have any time to think about the loss, having a home game against Brandywine Heights the next afternoon.

Against the Bullets, Northwestern again had three players score double-digits, this time with McCann leading the way with 18 points thanks to hitting four three-pointers and going six-for-eight from the foul line. Luke Hallman came off the bench to score 16 and Bollinger scored 14 points for the Tigers. As a team, Northwestern shot 20-of-26 from the line in the fourth quarter.

“After how well we played last night and didn’t get the win, this one was really important,” said McCann. “I feel like we dropped three games that we shouldn’t have, especially the first two. We played Southern Lehigh really tough, so this win will spring us forward and we have some winnable games coming up, so it was just a matter of time.”

Coach Billy Hallman credits the team with working to fit into new roles as being a key for the turnaround in play from their first two games. What they’ve found is that there is a lot of potential for offense to put up points and they have various weapons they can go to on any given night.

“I’m happy for the guys because they put a lot of work in this week,” said Billy Hallman. “Monday was disappointing, as were Wednesday and Friday, but the effort was there. We were playing pretty badly, but we got much better the past two nights.

“The guys are putting things together now and we’re doing the things that we knew they could do and we’re getting big scoring from different guys. Nick [Henry] played a role last night. Today it was Sean [McCann]. We feel like we’re very versatile with our scoring.”

Billy Hallman pointed out that the team looks first to Bollinger, but if teams key on Bollinger, McCann is an option as is Henry. He also pointed to contributions from Andres Garrido and credited the tough play of Derek Hebelka with helping the offense. Bollinger, Hebelka and McCann are all seniors, while Henry and Garrido are juniors.

McCann has been known for his ability to hit the outside shot.

“I think when teams start to key on Deven [Bollinger] it’s going to leave me open and I’m ready to step up and hit some shots,” said McCann. “We have different options when it comes to shooters because we’re pretty deep in that respect. Nick shot the lights out last night and today I was hot.”

The Tigers opened the week with a 62-56 win in double overtime against Moravian Academy. In the win, Northwestern had four players in double-digits with Bollinger and Hallman both hitting for 16, while Henry scored 13 and McCann finished with 10.

Northwestern has games at Northern Lehigh (0-7, 0-4) and Pottsville (1-2) and a home game against Kutztown (0-7) leading up to the Christmas break in the schedule.