Story first appeared in the Jan. 21, 2016 edition of The Northwestern Press.
The Northwestern Lehigh girls’ basketball team upset Notre Dame Green Pond, one of the four teams ahead of the Lady Tigers in the Colonial League standings, last week.
The ladies are winless against the other three.
Head coach Chris Deutsch and company fell to one member of that triumphant trio, Southern Lehigh, by a final score of 52-33 in a Colonial League game at Northwestern Lehigh High School on Tuesday night.
The Lady Spartans, who have yet to lose in league play this season, swept the season series against the Lady Tigers, 2-0, including a 54-41 Southern Lehigh win back on Dec. 15.
“Right now, Southern Lehigh is the best team we have played up until this point,” Deutsch admitted. “We are not at that point yet [of beating them]. The positive I take out of it is that we lost to Southern Lehigh twice in the regular season last year and then we got them in the postseason and were able to knock them off.”
The Lady Spartans jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter and never looked back. Northwestern never led in the contest.
The Lady Tigers (10-6 overall, 8-4 Colonial League) first cracked the scoreboard with 3:56 left in the first quarter by way of one made foul shot courtesy of sophomore Abigail Chisdak.
“The problem we have had with (Southern Lehigh) is that we have gotten off to such slow starts,” Deutsch said. “In the first game this year, it was 22-4 after the first quarter. Tonight I had to use two timeouts in the first quarter because it was getting out of hand.”
The Lady Spartans showed why they are undefeated in the league by putting up 34 points in the first half, but also by their defense as Southern Lehigh forced 13 Northwestern turnovers before halftime.
Northwestern battled back a bit in the third frame, winning the quarter, 13-6. However, Southern Lehigh returned to form in the fourth quarter, forcing nine Northwestern turnovers in the final eight minutes.
Erika Thomas led the Lady Tigers with 10 points.
It was pair of freshman piloting the way for the Lady Spartans offensively. Olivia Snyder led all scorers in the contest with 25 points and Ellie Cassel finished with 12.
All told, Northwestern turned the ball over 27 times in the game.
Despite the turnovers, Deutsch thought the disparity in rebounding was the difference.
“They killed us on the boards,” he said. “They are tough because they don’t just have one girl. They are tough and they have size. That is what hurt us tonight, rebounding. I don’t have the final stats in front of me, but I bet we got outrebounded by 25. They were getting two, three, four shots at the basket. We couldn’t limit them to one shot and if you do that against a good team, you are going to pay.”
The Lady Tigers will try to get their 11th overall win and qualify for districts this week when they visit Wilson on Thursday night, host Northern Lehigh on Friday night at 5:30 p.m. and welcome EPC school, Allen, to New Tripoli on Saturday at 1:45 p.m.
“We got six more games left in the regular season,” Deutsch concluded. “We need one more win to qualify for districts. We have three more games this week, depending on the weather, and we will do the best we can, but it is back to the drawing board now.”