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Tigers pull away from No. Lehigh

Story first appeared in the Dec. 23, 2016 edition of the Times News and online at tnonline.com.

Northwestern got off to a quick start against Northern Lehigh on Thursday night.

But that wasn’t necessarily a good thing according to Tiger coach Billy Hallman.

“We came out to a fast start, but I think it caught up to us,” Hallman said. “We just needed to settle down. I couldn’t wait to get to halftime to get them calm. We were so charged up after making a couple of shots.”

The Tigers calmed their nerves, but kept their sharp shooting going as they battled Northern Lehigh early before eventually cruising to a 53-33 Colonial League boys basketball win.

Northwestern jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first frame, but Northern Lehigh finished the quarter on an 11-3 run to take a one-point advantage after the first quarter.

The second period energized the large crowd as there were a combined 26 points scored in the high-paced frame, which ended with Northwestern taking a one-point lead into the break.

“We knew they were going to come out [big],” Northern Lehigh head coach Jeff Miller said. “With the big crowd and the game being on TV, we knew they were going to come out big and we just needed to weather that storm and we did that.

“We put ourselves in a good position at the end of the second quarter. We just came out in the third quarter … they played with a lot of confidence and we didn’t make shots.”

The Tigers started the second half on a 12-4 scoring run over the first five minutes, taking control of the game, which they never relinquish. The closest the Bulldogs got the rest of the way was six points.

Senior Joe Egan led the Bulldogs with 14 points, however, he picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter, affecting his play the remainder of the game, although he did avoid fouling out.

“We wanted to just wear him down,” Hallman said about Egan. “He is a good basketball player and has a lot of experience. He can beat you in a lot of different ways. I think it worked by the end of the game.”

Northwestern senior Rob Seyfried led the Tigers with a game-high 21 points. Freshman Deven Bollinger finished with 14 markers, 11 of which came in the second half, to aid Northwestern’s efforts in putting the game away.

“[Tonight] gave the guys a lot of confidence,” Hallman said about the win and the way in which the Tigers won. “We put a lot on the shoulders of our freshmen and we know they can handle it. They do a lot for us.

“For them to come out in an atmosphere like this, for the first time ever, and do so well in the second half is encouraging. They are only going to get better. The older guys love it too. They take them under their wings. It’s good to see.”

DOUBLE DIP … To make it easier for fans involved in the Mountain Road Rivalry, the girls’ varsity game preceded the boys’ contest in New Tripoli.

GOOD START … Northern Lehigh scored 11 points in the first eight minutes of play, which was good enough for the lead after the first quarter, but scored only 10 points in the entire second half.

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