The last time the Northern Lehigh boys' basketball team didn't qualify for the District 11 playoffs their two senior guards, Matt Egan and Tyler Dibilio, were in the first grade.
That current Bulldog backcourt combined for 40 points Tuesday night as Northern Lehigh defeated Northwestern, 61-47 in Colonial League boys' basketball action at Northern Lehigh High School. The Bulldogs' win clinched a district playoff berth for the 11th straight season for .
"We are certainly happy for the district qualification," said Bulldog head coach, Jeff Miller. "However, we certainly aren't content."
From the start, the Bulldogs (11-7 overall, 8-4 CL) and Tigers battled back and forth. In rivalry games such as this one it's always important to get off to a good start, which is something Jeff Miller preached to his ball club before the game.
"We got out to good starts in most of our games, but give credit to Northwestern," said Northern Lehigh coach Jeff Miller. Northwestern always plays us really tough, which is why we wanted to get out to a good start."
Northwestern (4-14, 1-13) found its rhythm shooting early in the second frame as the Tigers took the lead on multiple occasions, but were unable to pull away, leaving the door open for the Bulldogs to capitalize. That's exactly what Northern Lehigh did, courtesy of Dibilio, who finished with 20 points dropping 11 in the second quarter alone.
After a 5-1 'Dawgs scoring run to end the half, they headed to the locker room with a six-point advantage.
Tiger head coach, Dan Eddinger, explained why Northern Lehigh started pulling away.
"They ran with the lead because we missed shots. We were down nine at one point and should've been down only three. We missed easy lay-ups all night and we are not a team that can afford to do that."
A sluggish start by the Bulldogs to begin the second half allowed the Tigers to crawl back within two, but seven straight points from Egan squashed that quickly. The Tigers scored only four points in the final four minutes of the third quarter.
A basket by senior Cam Richardson (eight points, five rebounds),with a little over two minutes remaining cut the deficit to nine, but more missed shots down the stretch hampered any chances of a late comeback for Northwestern.
Senior Kevin Markovitch also had eight points and two rebounds for Northwestern as he started in place of senior Collin Breidinger, who was limited due to an illness.
Bulldog senior Josh Landsberger, who registered 10 points and 14 rebounds, talked about heading to the postseason.
"It's great. A lot of people doubted us, but we want more. We want leagues. Let's just keep winning though because we want a good seed."
Northwestern took the JV game by a score of 56-43.
Archer 1-0-0-3, Williamson 1-0-0-2, Mengel 0-0-0-0, Jones 2-0-0-6, Breininger 2-0-0-5, McCann 0-0-0-0, Breidinger 4-0-1-8, Schwartz 3-1-2-7, Maurer 0-0-0-0, Shuey 0-0-0-0, Richardson 3-1-2-8, Markovitch 4-0-0-8. Totals: 20-2-5-47
Traca 0-0-0-0, M. Egan 9-1-1-20, Dibilio 6-6-10-20, Taylor 0-0-0-0, Shupp 0-0-0-0, J. Egan 1-3-4-5, Hofmann 2-2-2-6, Landsberger 4-2-4-10, Novitsky 0-0-0-0. Totals: 22-14-21-61
Northwestern 12 15 8 12 - 47
No. Lehigh 13 20 14 14 - 61
Three-Pointers: NW- Archer 1, Jones 2, Breininger 1, Richardson 1; NL- M. Egan 1, Dibilio 2.