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Crusaders top Northwestern

One of the toughest places to win a Colonial League basketball game is at Notre Dame Green Pond. Playing on one of the smallest courts in the Lehigh Valley, the Crusaders hold a distinct advantage in their gym and the Tigers found that out Tuesday night when they fell 69-66 in Green Pond.

The setback came after Northwestern dumped Moravian Academy 68-28 last Thursday at home. Gavin Nelson had a game-high 20 points in the win. The Tigers pounced early and had a 16-point lead in the game after just the first quarter and grew to 29 points at the half.

Earlier in the week, Northwestern beat Bangor 63-48 with Nelson leading the scoring with 18 points, while Shane Marth knocked down 16 points for the Tigers.

Northwestern is now 9-3 in the Colonial League and 11-5 overall, leaving the Tigers with a district playoff spot wrapped up. Their 4-1 division record has them neck-and-neck with Palmerton, who stands at 5-1 in the West Division, with division champions gaining a bye in the first round of the league playoffs. The 9-3 mark leaves the Tigers tied with Palmerton in the overall league standings with Bangor at 9-4 and three teams – Salisbury, Saucon Valley, and Wilson – all at 8-5.

The upcoming schedule has the Tigers at Palmerton (9-3, 9-6) Thursday and staying on the road for games at Southern Lehigh (6-6, 7-9) and Salisbury (8-5, 11-7). Northwestern wraps up the league schedule with games at home against Northern Lehigh (0-13, 2-16) and on the road at Catasauqua (5-7, 5-10) in early February. There is also a nonleague game at home against Brandywine Heights (4-13) on the remaining schedule.