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Girls beat Bulldogs

The Northwestern Lehigh girls basketball team (6-2 overall, 5-0 Colonial) gave themselves an early Christmas present with a tidy six-game winning streak as they downed rival Northern Lehigh (3-3, 2-3) for their sixth straight win.

In the 55-24 win, Ali Lister finished with a game-high 18 points, while Sydney Sevrain scored 11 and Paige Sevrain hit for 10 points in the win.

The week started with a big win over previously undefeated Moravian Academy (4-2, 4-2). The Lady Tigers downed the Lions 55-44 on the road with Sydney Sevrain scoring 20 and Kailyn Jones hitting four three-pointers for 12 points in the win.

Going into the Christmas break, Northwestern Lehigh and Notre Dame – Green Pond (5-0, 4-0) are the only two teams with no losses in the Colonial League.

Lister, who is one of the more consistent players on the team, hit for six second quarter points in the win over Northern Lehigh, including three steals that she turned into easy layups on the other end of the court. Perfecting the transition game has become a big part of Lister’s game and has been a big part of the Tigers defense and offense.

“I love to play defense and I watch the ball close and try to anticipate things and the transition game is my favorite part of the game,” said Lister. “I push everyone to get down the floor as fast as they can and get the transition points.”

Lister’s ability to force turnovers and break down the court is complimented by Paige Sevrain’s rebounding abilities. Against Northern Lehigh, Sevrain pulled down 11 rebounds, six of which were on offense and four of those she put right back up for baskets. Lister herself pulled down four rebounds in the game to start the transition game.

“We’ve asked her to do a lot,” admitted coach Chris Deutsch of Lister. “She handles the ball for us, we can put her on the shooter on the other team and she’s willing to accept that challenge. We’re tough on her at times, but she can handle it and she has really progressed and stepped up to the challenges. She is all about team and leads the team as the point guard and she is outstanding on the press.”

Lister’s older sister, Leighanna is averaging eight points per game as a sophomore at Georgian Court University this season. Like Ali Lister, Leighanna was a complete player for Northwestern.

The fact that Deutsch can call on Lister to play any number of roles has made his job easier and has been a factor in the current winning streak. As for playing that role, Lister is happy to do it and likes the challenge of finding ways to help the team win.

Even after losing their first two games of the season, Northwestern Lehigh players knew that better days were ahead and the six-game win streak hasn’t really caught anybody off guard. It turns out that they were just a little delayed in finding the right mix of team chemistry and a comfort level with players in different roles.

“Right now, things are going well for the team and we’re bonding really well and it’s showing on the floor,” Lister explained. “I came off of an AAU season and I had a bond with those players and now I’m comfortable with these girls and we know where each other is going to cut to and where we’re looking to go with the ball. We have a very unselfish team and we all take the approach of doing what we need to win.”

The first goal is to win the Colonial League and finish with the top regular season record, which would clinch a bye into the semifinal round in the league playoffs. From there, the team looks to take gold in districts and move into states, but that’s all down the road. For right now, Deutsch put Lister’s play into a perfect perspective. “I’m happy she’s on our team so we don’t have to go against her; that’s a good thing.”

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZAli Lister scored a team-high 18 points during Northwestern's win over Northern Lehigh last week.