Story first appeared in the Lehighton Times News on Feb. 2, 2016 and on tnonline.com later that day.
All four of Northwestern’s league losses this season have come at the hands of teams higher than the Lady Tigers in the standings.
The Lady Tigers staved off a fifth such setback as they earned a 51-46 overtime victory over Salisbury in a pivotal Colonial League girls’ basketball game Monday night.
“The game that gave us confidence was the Notre Dame game, when we beat them here,” Northwestern coach Chris Deutsch said. “I think that really made a statement and now beating Salisbury that even gives us more confidence. We need to play better than we did tonight, but it is nice knowing we can play with those upper echelon teams.”
Northwestern (14-7 overall, 12-4 league) not only played with those top tier teams, but showed it can come out victorious as well. But it wasn’t pretty as the Lady Tigers committed 20 turnovers and missed 21 free throws.
With 1:19 left in regulation, Northwestern led 45-40. But the lead vanished moments later as two late turnovers led to four Salisbury points in 7.5 seconds, allowing the Lady Falcons to tie the score at 46 and send the game to overtime.
The well ran dry for Salisbury in the extra period, however, as it failed to score a point in overtime. Thomas scored four of Northwestern’s five points in the extra period.
“The game should have never went to overtime,” Deutsch said. “If we do a better job from the foul line, the game doesn’t go to overtime. We have to do better. We can’t go 17-for-38 from the foul line. It just wasn’t good enough.”
The Lady Tigers opened the game on a 6-0 run, but Salisbury (12-9, 12-4) battled back to close to within 10-8 after one quarter.
Salisbury carried that momentum into the second quarter, starting off the frame on a 9-2 scoring run over the first 3:30 of the period, claiming its first lead of the game. The Lady Falcons finished the half strong, taking a 21-16 lead into halftime.
“I think we played defense a little better,” Salisbury coach Joe Mladosich said of his squad’s second quarter surge. “I think we got a few easy breakaways. Also we played with more intensity and we need to do that more often.”
Northwestern fought back in the third frame led by Thomas, who netted 10 points in the period, and finished with a team-high 22 points. Salisbury committed six turnovers as well, allowing the Lady Tigers to reclaim the lead, 30-28, late in the quarter, a lead they would not relinquish until those final moments of regulation.
“I thought we picked it up in the third quarter. I think that was our best quarter,” Deutsch said. “I think we controlled the tempo, pushed the ball more and we changed our defenses up a little bit to start the second half.”
HOME SWEET HOME …With the win, Northwestern secured a home playoff game in the first round of the Colonial League playoffs, which will be played this Saturday.
REMATCH …It could change depending on the outcome of other games, but most likely Northwestern will face Salisbury again in that first round home playoff game.
BAUER POWER …Salisbury’s Lindsay Bauer led all scorers in the game with 27 points.
Bruns 1-2-2-4, Donaldson 3-0-0-6, Gardus 0-0-2-0, Meikrantz 2-2-2-9, Bauer 6-6-10-27, Nicholas 0-0-0-0, Scialla 0-0-0-0, Bruns 0-0-0-0, Utesch 0-0-0-0. Totals: 12-10-16-46
Lister 6-1-2-13, Chisdak 0-1-3-1, Sevrain 1-0-4-2, Pasquale 0-0-0-0, Koenig 1-5-6-7, Williamson 1-1-7-6, Thomas 2-9-17-22. Totals: 11-17-39-51.
Salisbury 8 13 8 17 0 – 46
Northwestern 10 6 19 11 5 – 51
Three-pointers: Salisbury- Meikrantz 1, Bauer 3; Northwestern- Williamson 1, Thomas 3.