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Boys suffer first CL setback of season

Northwestern Lehigh picked up its third straight win of the season against the Wilson Warriors this past weekend, but then dropped its next game when the Tigers hosted Southern Lehigh on Tuesday.

The loss to the Spartans was the team’s first loss to a Colonial League team this season, dropping Northwestern to 3-1 in the league and 3-3 overall.

Against Wilson (0-1, 0-1), Nick Henry led the Tigers with 13 points, while Dylan Witkowski added 12 and Jared Stitzel chipped in with 10 points. Wilson’s Nashawn Jones put up big numbers for the Warriors in the second half and finished with a game-high 16 points.

The win wasn’t exactly a textbook type of win for Northwestern, as both teams struggled with turnovers throughout the game. The Tigers had struggled with ball handling in their first two games of the season, which contributed to losses in each of those games, but slowed their offense slightly and had seemingly fixed the issue during the three-game win streak.

“It’s not going to be pretty all the time,” said first-year Tiger head coach Jerry Lloyd after the win. “We did play great defense and that has to be consistent every night. I was proud of the defensive effort, but we weren’t pretty on offense. The good thing is that we gutted it out and did what we had to do to win.”

The first quarter went back-and-forth. Northwestern scored the first six points of the game, but the Warriors cut the lead to two before Witkowski drained a three-pointer to put the Tigers up 9-4. Wilson again worked their way back and Shamel Gibson was fouled attempting a three-pointer and converted all three foul shots to tie the game at 11. Northwestern again took control with a 6-1 run and led 17-12 when the quarter ended. The Tigers led 22-17 at the half.

Northwestern opened things up in the third quarter when Henry, Witkowski and Stitzel all got hot, combining to score all 18 of the Tigers points and opened their biggest lead of the game by the end of the third quarter with a 40-26 cushion. The final quarter was a barrage of turnovers and missed shots, but the Tigers defense held to take a 44-34 win.

“We’ve been working on not allowing teams to get three-pointers, so I was happy that we shut them down in that area,” said Lloyd. “Shooting and offense can always be on and off, but you can always be consistent on defense.”

Against Southern Lehigh (2-1, 2-1), Witkowski put on a display of three-point shooting and finished with seven threes and a game-high 28 points. Cayden Fitch hit for four three-pointers and finished the game with 12 points for Northwestern. The game was tied at 46-46 after regulation and the Spartans Daryl Coleman scored nine of his 21 points in the overtime period, leading Southern Lehigh to a 58-55 win.

Northwestern goes to Salisbury (1-0, 2-2) Thursday night and then has nonleague games against Lehighton (3-1 Schuylkill, 3-1 overall) and Kutztown (0-1 Berks County, 0-3 overall). Next Wednesday, the Tigers host a tough Notre Dame of Green Pond (2-0, 6-1) team in a Colonial League game.

PRESS PHOTO BY LYNN SHUPP Nick Henry led Northwestern with 13 points in last week's win over Wilson.