It all came to an end just over a month ago. At least for her collegiate playing days, that is.
Lauren Horner, a 2012 graduate of Northwestern High School, capped her four-year field hockey career at Monmouth University in early November in the Hawks’ MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Tournament semifinal loss to Fairfield. That November 6 defeat was Horner’s final start on the Hawks’ defensive front.
Head coach Billy Hallman knew it would be a test early on in the Colonial League hoops landscape. And for the first quarter, Northwestern seemed up for the challenge.
But when all was said and done, Southern Lehigh and its experience proved to be too much over the final three quarters.
It appeared that Northwestern was going to hold for the final shot of the game, trailing by a single point with just over a minute remaining.
It turned out the Tigers were just waiting for the right shot.
After about 45 seconds ran off of the clock, Erika Thomas eventually found Leighanna Lister in the paint for the go-ahead bucket with just 18 seconds remaining.
Lehigh University freshman Sabrina Mertz has already made a name for herself on the women’s soccer team and in the entire Patriot League. In starting all 18 game this season, Mertz scored a team-high seven goals and added three assists for the Mountain Hawks. Those seven goals were fourth in the entire conference, and she more than doubled the next Mountain Hawk in terms of points on the season with 17.
It’s not the first time Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch has seen a large portion of his team graduate. And it might not be the last.
The Tigers graduated three key players from last year and saw another one transfer, leaving the team with just two seniors and two players with starting experience at the varsity level.
“For our group, it’s going to take some time to jell together,” said Deutsch. “I really believe as the season goes along we’re going to get much better. And our patience will be tested as a staff. We have to be patient and let the process work out.
Just about every high school sports program goes through some down times. Northwestern had a few years where numbers were low and results showed it.
Those days seem to be over.
The Tigers returned to the district team tournament last season for the first time since 2010. They sent seven wrestlers to regionals and four to states last winter.
This year, with all but one of those regional qualifiers back with the team, the Tigers set a goal of winning their first district title sicne 2008.
After taking a step forward last season, the Northwestern boys basketball program looks to keep up the progress this year.
It won’t be easy. The Tigers graduated 10 seniors, including five of their top seven scorers from last season.
On the bright side, last year’s leading scorer is back in senior guard Parker Jones.
“Parker has to do everything for us,” said third-year head coach Billy Hallman. “He’s going to make us go. He was a starter last year and was really the main guy last year.”
Jones, a 5-10 guard, averaged 11.14 points last year.
With 1:19 left to play in Friday night’s District 11 Class AA championship game, a small group of Northwestern fans started to chant.
As time was winding down on the Tigers’ season the sidelines were serenaded with “Thank you seniors.”
It was a fitting ending for a group of players that began their freshman year the same time Josh Snyder took over as head coach.
The much awaited and anticipated rifle deer-hunting season is upon us. The traditional post-Thanksgiving Monday deer season opener includes antlered and antlerless deer in most parts of the state. It’s a time when 750,000 orange-clad hunters head to state game lands, big woods country and small local woodlots in search of a big buck and some venison for the freezer.
This football season featured a bevy of playmakers in District 11.
Many of those players eclipsed school records and some even took down district records on their way to memorable season.
The following is a list of those accomplishments compiled by statistician Duke Helm through the first week of the postseason.