After one half of play, the Northwestern girls' basketball team found itself down by only four to Pleasant Valley on the road.
Just over four minutes later, Tigers head coach Chris Deutsch looked up to see his team down 14 and unraveling under a Bears run.
Pleasant Valley went on a 10-0 run to open the second half and ended up running away from Northwestern, 51-37 in non-league play. It was the second of two runs the Bears went on in the game, as they went on an 8-2 run early in the second quarter. The Tigers didn't get their first bucket of the second half until the 2:54 mark and by then it was a little too late.
"I think we are a lot better team when we are not in foul trouble," said Pleasant Valley head coach Nadia Gauronsky. "We can't continue to foul people 90-feet away from the basket like we have in previous games. We corrected that tonight.
"We stuck to our strengths, which is getting the ball inside and being patient enough on offense to do that. That is what we need to continue to do."
The Bears' size inside with Kelecia Harris and Dalian Salmon were too much for the Tigers to handle. Harris finished with a game-high 16 points, with the majority of those points coming on put-backs or drop-steps off of entry passes. Salmon added three points, but was a presence defensively in the 3-2 zone.
"Pleasant Valley has a really good point guard (in Kasey Meckes), but I think their size really hurt us tonight," said Deutsch. "(Harris and Salmon) did a lot of damage inside.
"We are learning that most games we go into we are going to be out-sized and we were again tonight. They got second and third opportunities. You give a team like that that many opportunities they are either going to make one or we are going to foul them."
Pleasant Valley point guard Kasey Meckes also did damage offensively. The senior penetrated at will in the first half and found her teammates for some easy buckets. She also found time to sink a three and hit on a three-point play in the second quarter. She would finish with ten points on the night.
Northwestern has gone through a tough stretch as of late, having played seven games in two weeks. Deutsch was not offering up excuses, but thought his team became a little fatigued as the game wore on.
"We are a young team," said Deutsch. "Tonight we started two sophomores, a freshman, a junior and a senior. Some of these girls have never started before and I think they are getting some good experience right now.
"I think these games will help us in Colonial League play. We have played some good non-league teams like Pleasant Valley, Tamaqua, Jim Thorpe, Emmaus and Tri-Valley. Soon we will be playing Northern Lehigh, Pen Argyl, Bangor and Palmerton. We are playing a lot of the good teams early, but I think it will help us in the long run."
Kaleen Suter led the Tigers with 12 points. Teammate Sara Jones added 11.
Meanwhile, the Lady Bears improve to 4-3 and have won four of their last five games.
"I think we have a good, strong rotation of eight girls," said Gauronsky. "The kids have worked really hard and I am pretty happy with how they are playing right now. All we can do is keep working and see where it goes from here."
Albright 0-0-0-0, Gulick 1-0-0-3, Landrigan 0-0-0-0, Groller 2-0-0-4, Jones 4-2-4-11, Suter 5-1-2-12, Kemmerer 0-0-0-0, MacLaughlin 0-0-1-0, Cunningham 0-3-6-3, Everett 1-1-3-4. TOTALS: 13-7-16-37.
Meckes 4-1-1-10, Hardy 2-4-4-8, McGill 3-0-0-6, Chieffo 1-2-2-4, Sisco 1-2-2-4, Harris 8-0-0-16, Dorney 0-0-0-0, Kregeloh 0-0-1-0, Salmon 1-1-4-3. TOTALS: 20-10-14-51.
N'western 10 9 9 9 - 37
Pleasant Vy 10 13 18 10 - 51
Three-Pointers: NW - Gulick, Jones, Suter, Everett; PV - Meckes.