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Girls bounce back from loss to ND

Every team dreams of having an undefeated season, but the truth is that it just doesn’t happen too often. Northwestern Lehigh made it to 8-0 on the season before the Tigers suffered their first loss, falling to Notre Dame (Green Pond) 35-26 last week. Fortunately, the loss may have sent a message to the players that doing the little things in a game can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

In the loss to the Crusaders, the little things were foul shooting and scoring in the paint. The Lady Tigers got to the foul line 12 times but hit just two of the shots. They also missed a total of 15 shots when they were able to work their way into the paint.

“You can’t do that,” said Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch of his team’s shortcomings against the Lady Crusaders. “You’re in a big game like this, you can’t go 2-for-12 from the foul line, it’s unacceptable. And we missed 15 shots in the paint, you’ve got to make those opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of that tonight.”

One of the issues throughout the game was the play of Notre Dame’s junior guard, Antonia Bates. Giving the Crusaders a strong presence around the basket, Bates had five blocked shots in the game, contributing to the shooting woes of the Lady Tigers.

Deutsch credited Notre Dame with playing a strong game, but believes that in the end, his team simply didn’t execute.

“She was pretty rough, and I think she’s really good,” said Deutsch of Bates’ performance. “I thought the difference in the game was more on what we weren’t doing. There were times that I thought we had her frustrated because we were tough on her. She’s going to score points because she’s good, but we couldn’t finish on our end and that was the difference.”

Bates finished with a game-high 11 points, while Sevrain had nine for Northwestern Lehigh.

In the two games since their loss, the Lady Tigers have shot a combined 9-for-15 from the foul line, still under the 70-percent mark they were shooting prior to playing Notre Dame, but an improvement. In those two games, Northwestern Lehigh (8-1 Colonial League, 10-1 overall) picked up wins over Saucon Valley (0-4, 1-5) and Catasauqua (0-11, 0-12).

Even in the loss to the Crusaders, Deutsch was happy with the play of his team’s defense. It held Notre Dame to just 35 points, well below the Crusaders’ season average of 45 points per game coming into the contest. While neither Saucon Valley nor Catasauqua have the high-powered offense of Notre Dame, Northwestern held the two teams to a combined total of 32 points.

In the two wins, Sevrain scored 14 points in both games, while Ali Lister scored 21 points combined for Northwestern Lehigh. Sydney Nyce had 10 points against Saucon Valley and six against Catty. The Lady Tigers have been without senior Tess Ledeboer, who was averaging seven points per game, for the past five games.

Northwestern locked up a spot in districts a couple weeks ago and is currently second in the District 11 Class 4A power rankings, just behind Allentown Central Catholic (8-2 overall). The schedule has just three more regular season games for the Tigers as they play at Palmerton (6-1, 7-2) on Saturday before hosting Whitehall (3-5 EPC, 3-5 overall) and Palisades (6-2, 8-2) for their final two regular season contests.

In league play, the Colonial League is still planning on an eight-team playoff format for basketball. The Lady Tigers hold the best record in the league at 8-1, followed by Notre Dame at 5-1, giving Northwestern the top seed in league play heading into the final stretch of games.

PRESS PHOTO BY LEROY BOGERT Northwestern's Ali LIster lays up a shot during a recent game against Bangor.