While a championship in the summer would be nice, the main goal of the Northwestern coaching staff is improving its girls' basketball team throughout the offseason.
So, when the Tigers are paired up with Class AAAA schools from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference they don't mind it one bit. In fact, the Tigers prefer that challenge as they face schools of that stature regular season nonleague games.
During last week's SportsFest A-Town Throwdown Tournament at Allentown's Cedar Beach Park, the Tigers experienced plenty of that competition firsthand.
There figures to be a period of transition as the dog days of summer start to appear.
Many high school basketball teams are in the middle of a rebuild process, and play in the summer only helps speed up that process for the upcoming winter season. So naturally, teams will experience both ups and downs when working out their chemistry on the court.
Millions of people watched the Women's FIFA World Cup from their own homes.
Thousands of others had the opportunity to watch the games from celebratory events in the Lehigh Valley, such as the Soccerfest and Viewing Party at Bethlehem's SteelStacks.
But only a select few had the chance to watch a game from that tournament live in the host country of Canada.
Head coach Billy Hallman and his Tiger boys basketball team experienced much of everything in the recent Stellar "Catch A Rising Star" Basketball Showcase.
There was a close, competitive game against a out-of-the-area team in Twin Valley. There was a decisive victory against a fellow Colonial League foe in Pen Argyl. And there was a matchup against a far more talented and athletic squad from out of the area in Bonner Prendergast.
Northwestern head coach Billy Hallman would've liked a more impressive finish than the 2-9 record his team posted over the past two months in the Stellar Construction Summer Basketball League. But he also noted plenty of positives over the seven weeks of play.
Last week's season finale against Warren Hills was another example of that.
Even without nearly half of his team's starters in last week's summer game, one thing remained constant from last fall's squad-leading goal-scorer JD Haff.
Against an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (EPC) team in Liberty last Wednesday, Haaf was one of just a handful of Northwestern starters from last season that were in uniform. But that didn't stop the Tigers from pulling out a gritty overtime victory after allowing a late equalizing goal in the final minutes.
After a three-day stint in West Virginia for a team camp that saw Northwestern compete in six games, the Tigers returned home and resumed play on the local summer hoops scene this week.
It looked as if they rode that momentum from the weekend, at least early on in Tuesday night's contest.
In the days of practice heading up to Thursday night's game, the Red Team's defense looked impressive and crisp against its offensive counterparts. But that defensive players were not sure if they were as dominant as advertised.
Judging by their performance in the actual game, that question was answered in convincing fashion.
If finding scoring on the offensive end of the court isn't Northwestern's main focus at this point in the offseason, it's certainly a key aspect right now.
The Tigers, who graduated a number of their top scorers from the winter, have struggled to consistently score throughout their summer season in the Stellar Construction Summer League. That issue became evident once again on Tuesday night.
The task that lies ahead for second-year head coach Billy Hallman is a lofty one.
After guiding the Northwestern boys basketball team to one of its better seasons in recent memory, Hallman will have to replace much of that senior-laden team. In all, 10 seniors graduated from the winter.