The Northwestern varsity girls' basketball team is a young squad. Head coach Chris Deutsch started two sophomores and two juniors this past season. That youthful varsity lineup has a trickle-down effect on all the lower-level teams in the program.
The junior varsity squad has a lot of girls that see action in both games on a given night and the junior high team's roster is nearly half eighth graders.
That left the middle school program, which cannot pull from anyone younger than seventh grade, with only five eighth graders this past winter.
Championships have become commonplace at Northwestern during this school year. Back in the fall both the boys' and girls' soccer squads took the Colonial League championship, with the girls' team grabbing district gold as well. The girls' cross country team won the league and district in fall, too.
Additionally, the Tiger football team won the Eastern Conference Championship with the girls' basketball team capturing the league title just last month.
That's a lot of hardware.
Progress is sometimes all a coach wants to see from a player, especially in the developmental ranks.
Northwestern Junior High girls' basketball head coach Shannon Kistler saw not just one player improve during this past season, she saw her entire squad elevate their game.
High school varsity teams get the recognition and the spotlight. But those basketball standouts have to start somewhere.
Most of today's Northwestern varsity players developed their skills on the hardwood members of Northwestern's middle school boys' basketball squad a few years ago and grew as they moved up through the ranks.
The 2013-14 middle school squad is just starting its path to the bright lights of varsity and they had a pretty successful start.
Coaches always want to see progress from their players. They want to see them grow as individuals and basketball players from the first day of practice to the day they turn in their uniforms.
The Northwestern Junior High boys' basketball team did just that as it progressed as a unit and as individuals this winter.
Asked if the team made progress this season, first-year head coach Chris Kretzman said "Absolutely."
Lady Tiger head coach Chris Deutsch is a basketball junkie. He loves the game. He is eager to get to practice and enjoys practice just as much, if not more than the games. He likes watching a good basketball team play.
If Deutsch wasn't piloting the 2013-14 Northwestern Lady Tigers this winter, he probably would have been in the stands at their games.
Usual scenes from a Lady Tigers basketball game include Trista Cunningham exploding to the basket for layups, a few clutch three-pointers from Sabrina Mertz and Erika Thomas chipping in with some nice outside shots of her own.
However, those were few and far between, if they happened at all, last Wednesday night at Northern Lehigh High School as second-seeded Northwestern (24-2 overall) fell to No. 3 Allentown Central Catholic, 43-30, in the District 11 Class AAA semifinal.
To some, winning is everything. To others, losing isn't an option. For them, beating their opponent is the main goal.
For head coach Billy Hallman, and the Northwestern girls' JV basketball team, they have their mind set on something more.
"My main goal is to have fun," Hallman said. "Some people laugh at me when I say that, but I want them to have fun while they are playing. My goal going into every year is to be .500 and be competitive every game."
The Lady Tigers had a busy week. Trista Cunningham, Sabrina Mertz and Sarah Segan appeared on a local sports television show Monday night. The team scrimmaged Parkland on Wednesday and the entire squad went out for a team dinner Friday night before appearing on another television program. All of which led up to their District 11 Class AAA quarterfinal game against seventh-seeded Blue Mountain on Saturday.
After the contest, one can also say it was a successful seven days.
Coaches tell players to leave everything out on the court. Except victories, players want to take those with them.
The 2013-14 Northwestern varsity boys' basketball team left winnable games out on the hardwood.
"We left one or two wins out there that we should've had," head coach Dan Eddinger admitted in a phone interview. "Maybe a reason that happened is because we had an extremely young basketball team. If you look at it, we left a lot of wins out there on the table."