On the first night of a new basketball season, there are normally plenty of unexpected aspects of the game. In last night's initial outing for Northwestern and Jim Thorpe's girls' squads, it was those unexpected elements that pleased both coaches as the Lady Olympians pulled out a 46-39 non-league win.
Olympian head coach Rob Kovac was happy with his team's efforts to come back from an early deficit and hang on down the stretch, after being challenged late.
"Both teams made errors tonight," Kovac mentioned. "Both teams also showed a ton of potential in turning out to be good teams as the season goes along. This is the kind of game, where in the past, we lost. However, tonight we gutted it out."
"I'm proud of our effort tonight," Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch said. "We definitely need to be more consistent throughout the course of the game and that's going to come with time."
Early on, it looked like Thorpe was in for a long night, as the Tigers raced out to an early 9-4 lead after one frame of play.
Sara Jones had four points in the first to lead her squad to the early advantage.
In the second frame, the Olympians were able close the gap slightly, but still trailed, 17-14 at the half.
Kaleen Suter had four points in the frame for the Lady Tigers, while Chelsea Smelas and Brittany Holland both had four points for JT (1-0).
"It seemed like we never really got into a flow tonight," said Kovac. "Credit Northwestern for nice pressure all night. At halftime, both of my assistant coaches complimented the team for getting some really nice shots in the first half. They told them to keep working the ball on offense and eventually the good looks at the bucket were going to start dropping."
In the third frame, the buckets did start dropping, as Kristin Lawrence 'brought the rain," nailing three long-distance treys to take her team into the lead, 29-22, at the end of three.
In the last frame, both teams showed their best offensive efforts as they both put up 17 points.
"We're getting to the next level," Deutsch said. "We had opportunities to win tonight and we're putting a very young team out there on the floor. Last year, we lost by twenty to this team up at their place, so we're showing that our girls are moving in the right direction."
"This is what everyone would have seemed to want with it being a Schuylkill League versus Colonial League game for a season opener," Kovac stated. "Both teams saw what they need to improve on and both teams had chances to win."
For the contest, Northwestern was led in scoring by Jones' game-high 16 points, with Groller chipping in nine.
For Jim Thorpe, Lawrence's hot hand dropped 14. Teammates Brittany Holland (12 points), Celeste Robinson (10 points) and Smelas (10 points) all aided the effort as well.
In the JV game, Northwestern pulled out a 32-9 win with Cheyenne Shupp scoring nine for the winners and Abigail Heydlauf adding eight.
McElmoyle 0-0-0-0, Batts 0-0-0-0, Lawrence 4-2-2-14, Condly 0-0-0-0, Holland 3-6-8-12, Robinson 5-0-4-10, Mosteller 0-0-1-0, Smelas 3-4-8-10. TOTALS: 15-12-23-46.
Gulick 0-0-0-0, Landrigan 1-0-0-2, Groller 4-0-0-9, Jones 6-2-3-16, Suter 2-0-2-4, Kemmerer 1-0-0-2, Maclaughlin 0-0-0-0, Shoemaker 1-0-0-2, Cunningham 0-0-0-0, Everett 2-0-1-4. TOTALS: 17-2-7-39.
Jim Thorpe 4 10 15 17 - 46
Northwestern 9 8 5 17 - 39
Three pointers: JT – Lawrence 4; NW – Jones 2, Groller.