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Tigers clinch top seed in playoffs

The high school basketball offseason is quickly coming to a close as the Lehigh Valley summer league regular season concluded last week, and the playoffs take place this week. With teams wanting to get the last few opportunities to play together before the real action begins this winter, there are only a select number of programs that qualify for this week’s playoff single elimination.

Following the conclusion of the regular season last week, the Northwestern Lehigh High School boys basketball team finished with a 10-1 overall record and earned the top seed in the Small Division for this week’s playoffs. The only defeat came at the hands of the third seed, Roberto Clemente.

Head coach Cory Cesare had a lot of positive things to say about the summer so far and the aspects his team has been able to accomplish.

“I think the regular season was successful,” said Cesare. “The whole point of summer league is to get your guys playing together as a unit, work on things you need to work on, and figure out what works and what doesn’t work. Judging by those metrics, and the fact we got to play some different teams, I think the regular season was productive for us. We weren’t sure what to expect going into this in terms of success level. Our team is really young. The majority of our roster is underclassmen. We just wanted to go into this league and figure out what we are/can be. What we’ve found is we have a really competitive group of kids that want to win. So, we’re definitely excited moving forward.”

The Tigers faced the fourth seed, Upper Perkiomen this past Tuesday at Whitehall-Coplay Middle School in one semifinal. The other semifinal had Roberto Clemente against Saucon Valley. (See next week’s Press for playoff results).

“I think everyone is excited about these playoffs,” Cesare said. “It’s validated the hard work we’ve put in this summer. I just hope to see our guys go out there and compete every possession. We want to walk off that floor knowing we’d played as hard as we could have.”

Northwestern has seen a lot of success this summer and Cesare feels that his team has been just doing the little things and not going out of their comfort zone.

“Our defense and willingness to do the little things to win,” said Cesare. “We talk about that a lot with our guys. Setting good screens, boxing out, getting on the floor for loose balls, those things that don’t go in the stat sheet, but definitely help you win games. We’ve done those things well and need to continue to take pride in those things.”

With the summer quickly coming to an end and the winter season then fast approaching, the Tigers are hoping this success carries into the actual season of competition.

“I feel like it’s been great for building positive momentum for our program,” Cesare said. “We need to make sure to keep that going through the fall and into the winter. Hopefully we can build on this success and positive momentum, and hit the ground running once the season starts.”

Lehigh Valley Boys Varsity Summer Basketball League

Scores from July 12


Roberto Clemente 53 (Matt Torres 16), Catasauqua 43

Kutztown 55 (Myles Schmidt 20), Saucon Valley 46

Upper Perkiomen 39 (Dan Carpenter 15), Bethlehem Christian 35


Freedom 42 (Nick Ellis 12), Northampton 37

Wilson West Lawn 53 (Aiden Melograino 13), Allen 39

Reading 55 (Ruben Rodriguez 31), Central Catholic 46

Parkland 46 (Nick Coval 26), Notre Dame Green Pond 34

Bangor 55 (Joshua Gioquinto 27), Southern Lehigh 44

Liberty 72 (Nate Rivera 23), Palmerton 64

Phillipsburg 71, Dieruff 60

Emmaus 55, Pocono Mt. East 43

Easton 40, Nazareth 36 (OT)

Scores from July 14


Salisbury 44 (Josiah Day and Andrew Grejda 10), Bethlehem Christian 37 (OT)

Lehighton 41 (Blake Roberts 17), Upper Perkiomen 33

Saucon Valley 65 (Adam Clark 15), Catasauqua 27

Northwestern 52 (Gavin Nelson 16), Kutztown 34


Central Catholic 43 (Jahriel Vigo 18), Palmerton 30

Muhlenberg 56 (J’Daniel Moskuera 14), Phillipsburg 53

Executive Education 55 (Gabe Hornberger 23), Quakertown 16



Team W-L

Parkland 12 - 0

Muhlenberg 12 - 0

Freedom 10 - 2

Emmaus 9 - 3

Executive Education 9 - 3

Reading 8 - 4

Central Catholic 8 - 4

Northampton 7 - 5

Notre Dame GP 7 - 5

Wilson West Lawn 6 - 5

Liberty 6 - 6

Quakertown 5 - 6

Pocono Mt. East 5 - 7

Whitehall 5 - 7

Phillipsburg 4 - 6

Palmerton 4 - 7

Nazareth 4 - 8

Bangor 3 - 8

Dieruff 3 - 9

Allen 2 - 10

Easton 1 - 11

Southern Lehigh 1 - 11


Team W-L

Northwestern 11 - 1

Saucon Valley 9 - 3

Roberto Clemente 8 - 4

Upper Perkiomen 7 - 5

Kutztown 7 - 5

Lehighton 6 - 6

Catasauqua 3 - 9

Salisbury 2 - 10

Bethlehem Christian 1 - 11


Tuesday, July 19

Big School #5 Executive Education vs. Big School #4 Emmaus

Big School #1 Parkland vs. Big School #8 Northampton

Big School #2 Muhlenberg vs. Big School #7 Allentown Central Catholic

Big School #3 Freedom vs. Big School #6 Reading

Small School #1 Northwestern vs. Small School # 4 Upper Perkiomen

Small School # 2 Saucon Valley vs. Small School #3 Roberto Clemente

Tentative second and third dates are Wednesday, July 20 and Thursday, July 21.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Cayden Fitch and the Northwestern boys basketball team have the top seed for the Lehigh Valley Boys Varsity Summer Basketball League playoffs.