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NHS girls edge Emmaus

The Northampton girls basketball team gained a measure of retribution Tuesday night, knocking off Emmaus 45-42 in Pete Schneider Gymnasium. The Hornets had won the season’s earlier matchup 46-40.

Each quarter of the game had its own, distinct feel.

The first quarter was the most normal between the two closely matched teams. Emmaus knocked down a pair of threes to help them take a 10-8 lead at the first break. Grace Lesko scored all 8 of the Kids’ points.

Northampton scored the first 12 points of the second quarter. The Hornets were 1 of 10 shooting during the period. The Kids took a 21-13 lead into the intermission with Lesko having 15 points and 7 boards in the first 16 minutes.

The third quarter saw the K-Kids extend their lead to 34-22 without Lesko scoring a point. Nicole Yellen had 5 points in the period, Anne Beenders and Maddie Hurst both hit a three, and Sophie Steirer scored a bucket with 7 seconds left to give Northampton what appeared to be a safe margin.

However in the final quarter, the momentum shifted. Emmaus upped their pressure forcing 7 Kids’ turnovers. The comfortable lead was trimmed to a narrow 2 points as the Hornets outscored Northampton 12-2 over the first 6 minutes of the period. Lesko took over from there and scored 6 straight points to put the Kids back up by 8 and they salted the game away at the free throw line.

Head coach Jeff Jacksits summarized the final quarter, “We were playing not to lose, not playing to win. We can be good, but we were up by 12 and we had a meltdown. If was good that we fought through it. At least this time we won. A couple of times this year, we lost games like that.”

Lesko finished the game with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Yellen had 10 and 8. Hurst with 6, Beenders with 3, and Steirer with 2 rounded out the scoring.

For the season Northampton is 10-8 overall, 6-6 in the EPC. Their remaining schedule is home for Central on Friday, at Parkland on Tuesday, at Whitehall next Friday, and home for Allen on February 6. With 11 wins as the benchmark for automatic district qualification, the K-Kids are all but mathematically assured of playing in the postseason.

In order to get into the EPC tournament, the team will almost certainly need to go at least 3-1 in the final stretch to qualify.