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NDGP hangs on to beat NWL

The Northwestern Lehigh girls basketball team came into this week knowing that it was perhaps the most important week of the season.

The schedule held games at home against Notre Dame Green Pond (12-1 Colonial, 14-3 overall) and Palmerton (11-0, 15-1), two teams that Northwestern is fighting against for playoff positioning. The first of the two games did not end well for Northwestern as they tried to battle from behind but wound up on the wrong end of a 48-36 score.

Northwestern Lehigh (9-3, 14-3) was plagued by turnovers and foul trouble, especially in the first half. By halftime, the Tigers had 15 turnovers, including on six of their first seven trips down the floor. Still, the game stayed pretty close with Notre Dame holding a 13-8 advantage after the first quarter. The Crusaders used a 10-2 run to go up 23-10 midway through the second quarter and were up 28-18 at halftime with Notre Dame’s Olivia Schweitzer scoring 12 first half points.

The Tigers slowed the Crusader offense in the third quarter and the Northwestern offense started to find its rhythm. Hannah Gober buried a three and Cara Thomas hit on a drive through the paint to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 33-28 with 1:00 left in the quarter. Northwestern carried the momentum into the fourth when Mallory Conner opened the scoring with a three-pointer and Gober hit from the outside to make it 35-33. The two-point margin was the closest Northwestern had been since they trailed 3-2 early in the game.

Just as quickly as the Tigers found their spark, the momentum flipped to the Crusaders, who finished the game with a 13-3 run to put the game away.

Schweitzer went 4-for-4 from the line and hit on a jump shot to finish with a career-high 18 points for Notre Dame. Thomas, who fouled out with 1:39 left to play, finished with a team-high 15 points for Northwestern Lehigh.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Northwestern and a seven-game streak of scoring 50 or more points in a game. The Tigers are also a half-game behind Pen Argyl for third place in the Colonial League standings and a half-game ahead of Bangor and Northern Lehigh, who are tied for fifth. The top six teams in the league make the league playoffs.

Northwestern lost to Pen Argyl earlier in the season but holds wins over the Slaters and Bulldogs.

Thomas scored 24 points in a 53-13 win over Moravian Academy last Thursday.

Palmerton, who defeated Northwestern 50-39 in the second game of the 2023-24 season, visits Northwestern Thursday.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Northwestern's Hannah Gober drives to the basket during Tuesday's game against Notre Dame.