NEW TRIPOLI - Northwestern knows it needs to win league games as it hunts for the Colonial League title.
The Tigers also want to win their non-league contests as well and on Saturday they did just that.
Northwestern defeated Pleasant Valley 55-38 on Saturday in a non-league contest.
Northwestern (2-0) was able to capture the victory, despite allowing Pleasant Valley to stay in the game as the Bears cut the deficit to as little as nine in the second half until the Tigers pulled away late.
"We couldn't put them away as they cut in to our lead a good amount," said Northwestern head coach, Chris Deutsch. "I think the girls were just tired as we played last night [they beat Whitehall on Friday]. The style of basketball that we play takes a lot of energy."
Trista Cunningham had enough energy in the tank as the senior had 15 points and she also pulled down seven rebounds.
Cunningham was thrusted into a more prominent role as fellow seniors Sabrina Mertz (19 points) and Sarah Segan got into early foul trouble. Segan ended up fouling out with 1:13 left in the game.
"Winning this game was very important," said Cunningham. "Winning both of these early games were important. We are going to keep working off of that and keep improving and hopefully win more than we lose."
The Tigers, despite the foul trouble, found themselves up 13-6 after the first quarter. The defense of the Tigers, led by Segan and Cunningham, held Pleasant Valley to only seven second quarter points and entered the locker room with a 29-13 lead.
Junior Erika Thomas paced the Tigers offense in the first half and helped build that early lead as she contributed 12 points, including a pair of baskets from behind the arc.
Other than a late third quarter push which brought the Bears to within nine points, Pleasant Valley struggled to maintain any momentum offensively as the starters, Keri Dekmar, Julia Craig, Mackenzie Dorney, Jordan Meckes, and Courtney Miller were held to 25 points combined with Dekmar leading the group contributing seven.
"It is old coaches' talk, but we need to take it one game at a time," said Deutsch. "We will be getting everybody's best every night. We need to just play our game and play with that same energy. I'm interested in seeing how they will respond when we play these competitive schools."
Dekmar 3-1-1-7, Craig 2-0-0-5, Dorney 2-2-2-6, 1-0-0-3, Krcic 1-0-0-2, Miller 2-0-0-4, Fields 1-0-0-2, Russel 3-0-0-7, Scott 1-0-0-2. Totals: 16-3-3-38
Mertz 5-4-4-17, Landrigan 1-0-0-3, Day 1-1-5-3, Hebelka 0-0-0-0, Segan 0-5-8-5, Koening 0-0-0-0, Bennett 0-0-0-0, Thomas 5-0-0-12, Cunningham 6-3-6-15. Totals: 18-13-23-55
Pleasant Vy. 6 7 10 15 - 38
Northwestern 13 16 9 17 -55
Three-pointers: PV- Craig 1, Meckes 1, Russell 1; NW- Mertz 3, Thomas 2, Landrigan 1