Northwestern head girls basketball coach Chris Deutsch wasn't feeling well prior to his team's game at Palmerton on Friday night.
So Deutsch decided to stay in the lockerroom and turn over the reigns to JV coach Billy Hallman.
Despite not looking like the team who has only lost one game all season, the Lady Tigers stayed close enough to put on a second half charge for a 52-43 win over the Bombers.
"We've had slow starts for the past two or three weeks," Hallman said afterwards. "But the girls keep battling and play hard. Defensively, they're always in the game and that's why we were able to stay close in the first half.
"We were down three at the half and felt pretty good about it. We just told them to keep battling and they were going to go."
"Eventually, we're confident that our girls will start making shots and things will start falling."
The Lady Tigers couldn't seem to find the basket in the first half and wound up shooting a dismal 3-for-23 from the floor (1-for-14 from three-point range). Their foul shooting wasn't much better (9-for-24). The Bombers only took four free throws in the first half making two.
Palmerton managed to hold on to the lead through the entire first half as Madison Mummey sank three three-pointers, Abby Reimer added six points and Jade Farquhar hit one from beyond the arc. The Bombers led by as much as seven at one point and had a 19-16 advantage at the half.
"Our defense kind of got out there and got us some turnovers and we were able to get some easy baskets and that gave us some confidence," Hallman noted.
The Lady Bombers led 23-20 and then Northwestern went on an 8-0 run to go up by five. Palmerton tied it up at 31-31, but Trista Cunningham, who had 10 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter made six of seven free throws down the stretch to nail down the win.
Sabrina Mertz finished with 16 points and Sarah Segan 11 for the Tigers.
The Lady Bombers were led by Mummey with 16, Farquhar with 13 and Reimer 10.
"In the first half, they didn't make their shots, but in the second half they did," said Strohl. "They had some good open looks and came out more aggressive taking the ball to the basket. We just didn't react quick enough.
"We held our own, it didn't get away from us. We don't have much bench depth with all of the injuries and that. And we fouled too much and put them on the foul line.
"We came back and stuck a couple of three's there late and cut it to two. I'm really proud, we didn't back down to a real good team tonight. We played good man defense, but just fell a little short."
The Tigers made it a sweep with a 55-29 win in the junior varsity game.
Mertz 4-7-10-16, Landrigan 2-0-0-5, Day 0-0-0-0, Segan 5-1-4-11, Koenig 0-0-0-0, Bennett 1-0-2-2, Thomas 1-1-6-3, Cunningham 3-9-15-15, Anderson 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-18-37-52.
Krupa 0-1-2-1, Mummey 6-0-0-16, Farquhar 4-2-2-13, Reimer 5-0-0-10, Beers 0-2-4-2, Nemeth 0-1-2-1. TOTALS: 15-6-10-43.
Northwestern 9 7 17 19 - 52
Palmerton 14 5 12 12 - 43
Three-pointers: NW - Mertz 1, Landrigan 1; P - Mummey 4, Farquhar 3.