The Northern Lehigh girls and Marian Fillies will both try to punch their tickets to the district championship tonight when both take the court for semifinal matchups.
Northen Lehigh travels to Southern Lehigh for a rematch of its Colonial League championship game with Wilson.
No. 3 Northern Lehigh (23-1, 16-0 Colonial League) vs. No. 2 Wilson Warriors (17-8, 11-5 Colonial League)
Wednesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at Southern Lehigh
Northern Lehigh - Dave Oertner; Wilson - Dennis Fry
Northern Lehigh - Christina Bastardi (So., G, 6.3 ppg), Maggie LeVan (Sr., G, 3.46 ppg), Sonya Josephson (Jr., F, 16 ppg), Lauren Oertner (Jr., F, 5.83 ppg), Aimee Oertner (So., F/G, 17.46 ppg); Wilson - Sondrine Glovas (Sr., G, 16.28 ppg), Jacelin Muschlitz (So., G, 3.6 ppg), Kristin Spirko (So., G, 8.6 ppg), Kammeron Stocks (Sr., G/F, 3.6 ppg), Jani Swiatek (So., G, 4.16 ppg).
OFF THE BENCH
Northern Lehigh - Rebecca Howell (So., F, 1.2 ppg), Kristi Seiler (Jr., G, 0.4 ppg); Wilson - Colleen Touhey (Jr., G, 3.4 ppg), Chloe Speigle (Jr., F, 2.08 ppg), Anna Dombroski (So., F, 1.24 ppg).
Wilson has made the district playoffs each of the last five years, yet has no championship game appearances. Wilson defeated Bethlehem Catholic in the first round, 62-58. Sondrine Glovas is the Warriors' best player. The senior guard averages over 16 points-per-game and shoots a cool 73.5 percent from the charity stripe. She has also made 31 three-pointers throughout the year, so she is definitely capable of hitting from the outside. As a team Wilson shoots 69.4 percent from the line, which is very good for a high school team. There is a lot of recent history between these two teams. Although Northern Lehigh defeated Wilson 47-43 on Jan. 19, the Warriors got revenge in the Colonial League semi-final when they handed the Bulldogs a 41-24 loss. It is still the Bulldogs only loss on the year. Glovas had 18 points in the game, while Northern Lehigh had just three first-half field goals. Oertner said it wasn't so much the Bulldogs' half-court defense that was the problem, but his team's turnovers that lead to a lop-sided first half. Sonya Josephson and Aimee Oertner tallied just nine and seven points respectively in the contest. They had 15 and 16 points in the first match-up. Northern Lehigh beat North Schuylkill in its first round game, 47-35. Oertner (18) and Josephson (16) once again led the team in scoring. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 29-11 halftime lead and have outscored their opponents almost three-to-one in the first quarter. If they can get off to a good start again on Wednesday, then the Bulldogs should have the momentum in the second half.
"I am glad to be able to play Wilson again so we can get another shot at them. We can't erase the loss, but we can get the sour taste out of our mouths. We are all about taking care of business right now. Nothing else matters right now but doing what we have to in order to win. If everyone plays their role then I think we should be alright." - Northern Lehigh head coach Dave Oertner.
No. 4 Marian (16-7, 9-4 Schuylkill League) vs. No. 1 Nativity (19-3 overall, 13-1 Schuylkill League)
Wednesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at Minersville
Marian - Paul Brutto; Nativity - George Forney
Marian - Angela Bellezza (Sr., G, 5.61 ppg), Kaysi McLaughlin (So., G, 8.35 ppg), Jen Linkchorst (Sr., F, 7.39 ppg), Kelly Shober (So., F, 3.7 ppg), Danielle Tristani (So., F, 8.96 ppg); Nativity - Kiely Chaklos (Jr., G, 14.23 ppg), Nicole Farr (Jr., G, 9.64 ppg), Courtney Field (Jr., F, 8.27 ppg), Gabi Nabholz (Sr., C, 4.64 ppg), Sasha Birosik (Sr., G, 4.32 ppg).
OFF THE BENCH
Marian - Gillian Ferko (Jr., F/C, 7.3 ppg), Theresa Patten (Sr., F, 1.39 ppg), Emily Kennedy (Sr., G, 0.91 ppg), Kaycee Gutsie (Jr., G, 1.73 ppg), Katie Ferrello (Sr., G, 0.57 ppg), Corrine Markiewicz (Jr., F, 1.61 ppg); Nativity - Amanda Eich (Sr., F, 3.91 ppg), Bridget Holohan (So., G, 2.45 ppg), Brooke Lewandowski (Sr., F, 0.86 ppg).
Nativity and Marian are quite familiar with one another. The Golden Girls knocked off the Fillies in both meetings this year (36-27 and 44-33) and are looking to do it for a third time. These two teams faced off in three consecutive district finals from 2006-08, with Nativity winning the first two. Nativity won the district title last year (45-37 over Tri-Valley) and went all the way to the state championship. All five starters from that team are back for another go. Kiely Chaklos, the Girls' leading scorer, had 13 points in the most recent meeting after scoring just two in the first. Chaklos dropped 26 points in her last contest - a Schuylkill League semi-final loss to Tamaqua. Brutto called Chaklos one of the best point guards in the league and hopes to deny her the ball after she gives it up on offense - which is easier said than done. Nativity's Courtney Field scored 33 points in her two games against Marian. Teammate Nicole Farr leads the team with 49 three-pointers. No Fillie had more than nine points in either game this season (Tristani and McLaughlin). While Marian led in the first half in both games, Brutto said turnovers and a lack of rebounding sparked the Girls' run in the second half. He feels if they can correct those problems this time around then they should have a good shot at moving on.
"Our girls are cautiously confident. They know they can hang with Nativity, we just haven't beaten them yet. We played for a half one game and for three quarters the other. We need to put it together for a full four quarters. If we can do that then I think we have a great shot at getting the job done." - Marian head coach Paul Brutto.