Girls earn No. 2 seed
The Northwestern Lehigh girls basketball team celebrated senior night with a 46-21 win over Catasauqua to finish the regular season with an 18-4 overall record and a 15-2 Colonial League record.
The Lady Tigers will have a first-round bye in the Colonial League tournament before facing either Moravian Academy or Wilson in the semifinals.
Against Catasauqua, Ali Lister led the Lady Tigers with 12 points, while Kailyn Jones finished with 10.
The win put an exclamation point on a season that the team hopes is going to go deep into both the Colonial League and District 11 playoffs. The team hasn’t won a Colonial League championship under head coach Chris Deutsch and capturing the title has been a goal since the team came into training camp last fall.
“When you think about it, we’re just one win away from playing for that championship and reaching that goal,” said Deutsch. “The girls also know that we’re going to be facing tough teams from here on out, so we’re going to have to play our best basketball. Now we go into that part of the season where a loss can take away that goal and when you get into districts, a loss ends the season.”
Northwestern beat both Moravian Academy (16-6, 15-3) and Wilson (13-8, 10-7) during the regular season, downing the Lady Lions by 11 points and edging Wilson by just three with both games coming on the road. The semifinal game will be played Wednesday at Catasauqua High School.
Mackenzie Hess was one of four seniors who were saluted prior to the game and believes the team is playing well going into the postseason.
“I think we’re pretty prepared,” she said. “We’ve still got some stuff that we can work on, but I think we’ll put up a good fight against any of the teams we face.”
Hess, along with senior team manager Payton Divers and senior players Gabrielle Giese and Sydney Sevrain, were introduced prior to the regular season finale.
“They’ve all been great,” said Deutsch. “Gabby is like the mother of the team and is always looking out for the other girls. She’s had injuries to deal with and has missed a lot of time, but she’s always around the team and encouraging the other girls. I think they can learn a lot from her and all that she’s been through. You couldn’t want to meet a sweeter, nicer kid.”
“I like being the one that the other girls can look to and they all know that I’m here for them,” said Giese. “The injuries were frustrating, because one of our coaches told me early on that they thought I would become a big part of the team and it didn’t turn out that way because of the injuries, so I’ve just done what I could to help.”
Deutsch described Hess in ways that could be misinterpreted, but really meant them as compliments.
“She’s not a flashy player,” he said, “and she doesn’t do any one thing particularly well, but she is steady and you know she’s always going to play hard and she’s going to be in control on the court and at times, she hits that big jumper or makes a big play. A lot of the time, you don’t really know she’s there, but you miss her if she’s not in there.”
“It’s been great and I’m really looking forward to the playoffs this year and going out on a strong note,” said Hess. “It really sinks in when you realize you’re playing your last home game and you’re getting to the end of high school.”
As for Sevrain, she’s been a team leader almost from the time she first stepped on the court.
“We all know about Syd,” said Deutsch. “She’s part of a great family and we’re really going to miss her.”
All three players are looking forward to college. Sevrain is headed to Messiah College and Giese will attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania to major in biology education. Hess has narrowed her college choices to one of two schools and is planning on majoring in kinesiology.