Northwestern Lehigh's senior-laden team is still in the hunt for a District 11 Class 3A Boys playoff berth.
The Tigers moved a step closer on Monday night with a 69-41 victory over Palmerton in a Colonial League showdown to keep its post-season hopes alive.
With the win, Northwestern evened its overall record at 10-10 and league mark to 7-7. The Tigers need a win at Bangor today or a win over Catasauqua on Friday to punch their ticket to the post-season.
"We put ourselves in position to do this," said Tiger mentor B.J. Dugan. "Early in the season we weren't playing as well as we are now. We're peaking.
"We play two very good teams yet, Bangor and Catty. But we're certainly going to give it our best shot over the next four days."
Despite the wide margin of victory, the Tigers took a different route to get the "W" than they did in the past couple of wins.
Normally, senior sharpshooter Kevin Oxley has been carrying the load averaging over 20 points a game. Against the Bombers, Oxley got in early foul trouble and settled for just nine points on the night, all coming in the first half.
Garrett Lerner picked up the offense with Oxley saddled on the bench and finished with 20 points. Trevor German added 15 and Dylan Roth was a pleasant surprise for Dugan off the bench with 11.
"I thought we were up and down a little bit tonight and that's a tribute to them (Palmerton)," said Dugan. "What they like to do is switch a lot of defense and keep you off balance. It makes you look bad because you make some careless turnovers because of the way they're playing which is effective."
Both teams battled even through the first period and it finished tied at 14-14, Lerner had seven of Northwestern's points, while Christian Marcin led the Bombers with six.
The Tigers took control at the start of the second quarter when they ran off 13 straight points to take a 27-13 lead and never looked back.
Roth and Oxley had six apiece as the Tigers outscored the Bombers 21-9 to take a 35-23 lead at the half.
"We started to get into a rhythm then and it continued into the second half," said Dugan. "We had guys in foul trouble, but we had bench guys step up.
"Dylan Roth did a nice job. I think it was his first double-digit varsity effort. He gave us a nice lift in the second quarter.
"Lerner made every shot he took in the second half. He was on fire. He definitely has the athleticism to get to the rim and against a team that is trapping you, they expose the rim on the backside and we certainly tried to take advantage of that."
German scored 13 of his 15 German scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half to keep the Bombers (3-17, 1-13) from staging any kind of comeback.Marcin finished the night as the lone Bomber in double figures with 11.
"The game got way too physical," said Palmerton head coach Mike Snyder. "The game got out of control. It was a playground-style game. There was no resemblance to any kind of structured basketball.
"We played a very bad game, but the officiating was definitely sub-par."
The Bombers managed to salvage the JV game by a 43-343 score as Cody Geist had 14 points and Brett Snyder added 12.
Snyder 3-0-0-7, Andrews 1-2-2-5, Tyahla 0-0-0-0, Svetik 0-0-0-0, Furry 1-1-2-4, Haas 0-1-5-1, Freed 0-0-0-0, Marcin 4-3-4-11, Kravetz 3-3-9-9, Kleintop 0-0-0-0, Geist 1-2-6-4. TOTALS: 13-12-28-41.
Lerner 9-2-6-20, Nagle 2-0-0-4, Rivera 1-0-2-2, Roth 4-2-6-11, Koenig 1-1-5-3, Oxley 3-0-0-9, German 5-5-6-15, Collopy 1-0-0-2, Conway 0-0-0-0, Wagner 0-0-0-0, Betz 1-1-2-3, deBrujn 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 27-11-27-69.
Palmerton 14 9 7 11 - 41
N'western 14 21 13 21 - 69
Three-Pointers: Palmerton - Snyder 1, Andrews 1, Furry 1; NW - Oxley 3, Roth 1.