Lady Tigers suffer first league loss this season
The holiday break can disrupt the rhythm of even the best teams and that may have been the case for the Northwestern Lehigh girls basketball team, which ended an eight-game winning streak last week with a loss to Bangor, 48-44.
The Lady Tigers (9-3 overall, 6-1 Colonial) came out sluggish and uncharacteristically struggled with their ball control, giving the Slaters plenty of scoring opportunities that they used to build an 11-point lead by the end of the first quarter.
“I don’t like excuses,” said coach Chris Deutsch when asked about the layoff and irregular practice schedule over the holidays. “You have to tip your cap to them [Bangor]. They’re a good team and they played really well tonight. To use any excuses wouldn’t be fair to them, because they did all the right things.”
By midway through the second quarter, Bangor (7-3, 5-3) stretched its lead to 25-9, but Northwestern turned things around to play much more like the team that had put together eight straight wins.
Paige Sevrain, Tess Ledeboer and Sydney Sevrain all hit buckets over a three-minute span and after Ali Lister scored from inside, a quick steal and pass to Sydney Sevrain made it 10 unanswered points for the Tigers to cut the lead to 25-19 by the end of the first half.
Lister and Paige Sevrain scored for Northwestern just over one minute into the third quarter to make it a two-point game before Madeline Minner sank a three-pointer to try to douse the momentum.
The Lady Tigers were undaunted. Kailyn Jones answered with a three-pointer and less than a minute later, Lister tied the game at 28-28 on a drive to the basket. Bangor pulled back into the lead with a barrage of three-pointers that put the Slaters ahead 37-32 after three quarters.
The key down the stretch for Bangor was hitting free throws as it hit nine of 14 foul shots in the fourth quarter to fight off a seven-point quarter from Sydney Sevrain, who finished with a team-high 13 points. Lister finished with 11 and Paige Sevrain hit for 10 points in the loss. Minner led all scorers with 20 points in the game.
“I liked the way that we battled and came back,” said Deutsch. “Our girls didn’t hang their heads and give up. They fought back and to come back from 16 points down against this team is pretty good, so I’m
“ proud of them for that. We need to clean up the turnovers and for some reason we weren’t rebounding the way we normally do tonight, but again, a lot of that is on Bangor because they played well and kept us off the boards pretty well.”
The Tigers bounced right back in its next game on Monday with a 52-15 win over Salisbury. The Sevrain sisters combined for 26 points, 14 for Sydney and 12 for Paige. Jones went three-for-three from beyond the arc to finish with nine points for Northwestern Lehigh.
The win over Salisbury (0-12, 0-7) started a swing of four games on the road for Northwestern. The Tigers travel to Palisades (3-5, 1-4) Friday before games at Catasauqua (2-8, 1-6) and Palmerton (7-4, 5-3) next week. They lead the West Division by two games over both Northern Lehigh and Palmerton. Meanwhile, in the East Division Notre Dame of Green Pond (7-0) remains undefeated in league play and Bangor has just one loss in the league.
“We still control our own destiny in the division and to make it to the league playoffs, so I’m not upset about this loss,” said Deutsch. “We ran into a good team and they beat us. We never were really mentally in sync in this game and we weren’t mentally tough like we usually were and we found out what happens when you do that.
“If you had told me [before the season] we would only have three losses and just one in the Colonial League at this point, I’d have taken that.”