Each of the last two seasons, the Northwestern Lehigh varsity softball team reached the District 11 playoffs only to be eliminated by Tamaqua both years.
Last year’s team finished 11-7 and looking at this year’s roster, you might think the Lady Tigers may take some lumps this year because their roster features just two seniors and two juniors.
Having such a young roster could be a problem, but for head coach Josh Zimmerman, having young players is an exciting opportunity that could make this team better than it was a year ago.
The good news is that the Northwestern Lehigh boys basketball team reached the state playoffs for the first time since 1998.
The bad news is that in states there are no second chances. A team that battled back all season long when it had those chances fell to Lancaster Catholic 63-46, ending the Tigers’ season and the long run of the five seniors who played together on the team.
This season figured to be one of rebuilding for the Northwestern Lehigh Lady Tigers. The team lost four starters to graduation and had just two seniors – Sage Christopher and Maggie Motolese – on this year’s roster.
As head coach Chris Deutsch points out, at times, Northwestern had four sophomores and a junior on the court at key points in the game. If this was a rebuilding season, then the construction project is well ahead of schedule, because the Lady Tigers finished the regular season at 19-3 and finished overall at 21-6, coming up just short of reaching states.
With the potential of having their high school basketball careers come to an end, the Northwestern Lehigh seniors banded together to lead their team to a 68-55 win over Tamaqua in the District 11 quarterfinals, which guaranteed the Tigers a spot in the PIAA tournament and the chance to play at least three more high school games.
Northwestern Lehigh had open looks and put up good shots early in its semifinal matchup with Allentown Central Catholic Tuesday night, but the shots just weren’t falling. That led to some frustration and before long, the Tigers were getting impatient and taking ill-advised shots. Add to that some early defensive struggles and it’s a recipe for disaster, which is exactly what happened in the 66-41 loss to the Vikings.
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.
Teams that miss their league playoffs can always sit down, look back at the season and find a game or two that they let slip away. The Northwestern Tigers aren’t doing that. They are looking at the fact that they qualified for play in the District 11 playoffs and could still have a lot of basketball left to play.
Some players reach milestone scoring achievements in their careers because they always are the one putting up shots. Put up enough shots and with a good enough skill level, you’ll get to 1,000.
Others are pretty much the only offensive choice for a team and they have to shoot the ball often. Neither of those apply to Northwestern senior Sam Yadush, who recently reached the 1,000-point plateau for Northwestern Lehigh.
Yadush believes in having a supporting cast and recognizes just how important those people are in his life, both on the court and off.
For the third time this season, the Northwestern girls basketball team will face its nemesis, the Southern Lehigh Spartans.
This time, the game will have even more meaning as the two teams meet in the semifinals of the Colonial League playoffs.
As the number-two seed in the tournament, the Lady Spartans (19-3) had a bye through the quarterfinals, while Northwestern downed Moravian Academy 61-29.
The semifinal, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed twice and as of Wednesday morning was slated to be played Thursday at Whitehall High School.
Just as quickly as things turned sour for the Northwestern boys basketball team, they turned right around.
The Tigers have won three of their last four games heading into their regular season finale against Pen Argyl (3-18 overall, 2-15 Colonial). In late January, the season hit a low-point with a 71-46 loss to Northern Lehigh.