Jim Thorpe's 41-36 non-league victory over Northwestern on Saturday left both coaches talking about the postseason.
For the Olympians, who improved to 11-1, it was the second of three consecutive games against top flight competition. Thorpe opened a demanding five-day stretch with Pine Grove, follwed that with Northwestern and will close it out against Tamaqua. It had to fight through Saturday's game without flu-ridden starter Kristin Lawrence.
"They are all playoff teams and with two of the three down, we've passed both tests," Jim Thorpe coach Rob Kovac said. "Tuesday night will not be any easier because [Tamaqua is] playing really good basketball right now."
It was the second loss of the week for Northwestern (10-3), which allowed a 17-point lead to slip away on Tuesday against powerful Southern Lehigh.
"We're a young team starting two freshman and a sophomore, a junior, and one senior " said Northwestern coach Chris Deutsch said. "I like that we are in this type of atmosphere and this type of environment because it will make us stronger when we do get into post season."
Jim Thorpe jumped out to an early lead on Saturday, but an 8-1 run by the Lady Tigers early in the second quarter gave them their last lead of the game at 15-13. The spurt was highlighted by five points from Sara Jones and a three-pointer from Sarah Segan.
Nikki Ennis drained a trey to regain the lead for Thorpe and Robinson scored eight of her game high 23 points in the second quarter as the Lady Olympian grabbed a 20-17 halftime lead.
Thorpe's lead was 24-23 late in the third quarter, but the Olympians reeled off six straight points. Chastity Mosteller capped the run by sinking a killer basket with four-seconds left in the quarter to extend the lead to 30-23.
Twice in the fourth quarter a Lady Olympian miss at the charity strike resulted in a rebound by Northwestern. But both times Batts stole the ball, which resulted in points and time draining off the clock to halt any comeback hopes that Northwestern had.
The first steal and score extended the Thorpe lead to 38-31 with just over two minutes remaining. Northwestern cut the lead to two on Segan's second three of the game and a basket by Cunningham. The second Batt's steal led to McElmoyle sinking three of four from the foul line to end the game.
Robinson was the lone Jim Thorpe player in double figures as she scored 23 points.
"They were tough and we knew we had to come out and be just as tough," Robinson said of the hard fought, physical nature of the game. "We showed that we can throw anything that anyone throws at us."
For Northwestern, Sarah Jones led the way with 15 points.
"To their credit, they made a few more plays than we did," Deutsch said. "We had possession of the ball and we turned it right back to them. Instead of being down two or three we down more. Little things like that made the difference."
Mertz 1-1-2-4, Landrigan 1-0-0-2, Jones 6-3-5-15, Kemmerer 0-0-0-0, Cunningham 3-1-2-7, Segan 3-0-0-8. Totals 14-5-9-36
McElmoyle 1-3-4-6, Batts 2-0-4-4, Condly 0-0-0-0, Robinson 9-5-8-23, Mosteller 1-0-0-2, Smelas 1-1-4-3, Ennes 1-0-0-3. Totals 15-9-20-41
Northwestern 7 10 6 13 - 36
Jim Thorpe 10 10 10 11 – 41
3-point: NW – Segan 2, Mertz 1; JT – Ennis 1, McElmoyle 1.