After being surprised by Wilson in the Colonial League quarterfinals, the Lady Tigers have had a longer layoff than planned before the start of districts.
Coach Chris Deutsch made the best of it by taking the time to give his players a bit of a break and then taking a fresh look at what they were doing. He also had some time to put in a few wrinkles that the team can use in districts.
This year, Northwestern’s varsity boys basketball team has gained some attention as a potential contender in District 11. But meanwhile, away from the varsity spotlight, the Tigers’ freshman squad has also been quietly making a name for itself. Coming off a perfect 20-0 season, the cast of promising young athletes has established itself as a future powerhouse in Colonial League Basketball.
In one of those quirks of high school sports, the Northwestern boys team didn’t qualify for the Colonial League playoffs, but it did qualify for the District 11 Tournament.
The result is that the Tigers haven’t played since their final regular season game against Catasauqua on February 6. That means that they will have had 16 days off between that game and their district opener against Lower Moreland. That’s a lot of time away from competitive basketball.
Emmaus senior and center defender James Haag was named the 2017 Lehigh Valley Boys Soccer Scholar Athlete during the annual soccer banquet recently at the Northampton Memorial Community Center in Northampton.
“It’s such a great honor to be named the Frank J. Olszewski Boys Soccer Scholar Athlete for the Lehigh Valley,” Haag said. “I mean, it’s just amazing how there are so many great kids out here. I can’t believe that I got picked for it. There are so many other candidates that were absolutely amazing and I’m very happy to be named with any of those guys.”
Everybody knows that the high-powered offense of the Northwestern girls basketball team can put points on the board and it used that power, combined with a strong defense, to work its way through the Colonial League season. In the opening round of the league playoffs, the Tigers scored 67 points, equaling their season-high, which they had done twice before. Unfortunately, they set a new season-high for points given up when Wilson nailed nine three-pointers and eliminated Northwestern with a 70-67 upset.
You watch a high school basketball game, and you think the coaches of both teams are deciding their offensive and defensive strategies based upon what they see.
More than likely, their game plans were put into place days before.
Both Marian Catholic’s boys coach John Patton and Northwestern girls coach Chris Deutsch agree that breaking down videos of their own teams, and of their opponents, is an essential tool to gaining an edge to a winning record.
The Colonial League announced it’s schedule for the upcoming boys and girls basketball tournaments.
The boys side sees two games take places Saturday. At the bottom of the bracket, four-seed Catasauqua will host five-seed Wilson at 3 p.m. and at the top of the bracket, third-seed Notre Dame Green Pond will host sixth-seed Southern Lehigh at 7 p.m.
The winner of the Catty-Wilson game will play top-seed Bangor on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. while the NDGP-Solehi winner will play at second-seeded Moravian Academy at 6 p.m. The site is to be determined.
Northwestern wanted another shot at Saucon Valley.
But so did Wilson.
The Warriors got the rematch they wanted by knocking off the Tigers in the semifinals of the District 11 Class 2A team championships on Saturday at Freedom’s McIntyre Gymnasium. The victory avenged a loss to Northwestern in the semifinals of the Colonial League tournament a week earlier.
“Obviously, (losing to Wilson) was a letdown,” said Tigers head coach Jim Moll. “The goal coming in was to be district champs. We felt we could push Saucon and be even closer than we were in the past.
Northwestern girls basketball coach Chris Deutsch is quick to give praise to his players, and he has a lot of good players to heap praise on. What he doesn’t do is offer up a lot of hyperbole or try to make his players into something that they’re not. So, when he turned very serious recently when he was asked about senior Jess Williamson and offered up a stirring assessment of her ability on a basketball court, it makes sense to listen.
Emily Bartlett wanted to stay active after her days playing college soccer at Millersville University.
She also wanted to pursue a career that was meaningful to her and one in which she could make a difference in the world.
So, the former Northwestern Tiger combined the two. After graduating from Millersville, Bartlett moved to California to take a full-time position with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There, she serves as a member of Team in Training, a sports endurance program that trains athletes for events and helps raise funds for cancer research.