DREXEL HILL – The Northern Lehigh girls knew they would have a height advantage against Bishop McDevitt.
The Lady Bulldogs found out early in their first-round PIAA Class AA match up just how much they would be able to use that advantage.
Pounding the ball inside to 6-foot-2 senior Aimee Oertner early on, Northern Lehigh built a 28-4 first-quarter lead en route to a 62-18 win over the Lady Lancers Friday night at Monsignor Bonner High School.
The Bulldogs (23-4) advance to the Tuesday's second round, where they will face District 2 third-place team Mid Valley (22-4), a 67-57 winner over Mt. Carmel.
Northern Lehigh made 11 of 18 shots in the first quarter and 18 of 29 in the first half against McDevitt. Aimee Oertner had 17 first-quarter points.
"It got us a nice little lead," said Lady Bulldog head coach Dave Oernter. "It gave us confidence and I think it shocked them a little bit. They struggled with our height all night long."
Aimee Oertner scored 24 of her 28 points in the first half, making 10 of her 12 shots. After establishing Oertner and 6-foot Sonya Josephson inside, Northern Lehigh kicked the ball outside for three-first quarter three-pointers.
Lauren Oertner made most of the passes that led to baskets. The senior forward had five first-quarter assists and seven in the game.
"She's always looking for us," said Aimee Oertner. "We tell her to shoot more because she's always looking to pass."
Northern Lehigh extended its lead in the second quarter as the Lancers (5-17) committed nine turnovers.
McDevitt got as close as 34-9 midway through the second quarter before Northern Lehigh went on an 11-0 run for a 45-9 halftime lead.
"We came out on fire," Dave Oertner said. "We did a great job. We didn't turn the ball over in the first half. We managed to get a good shot off every time down the floor in the first half."
The Bulldogs committed just one first-quarter turnover and only three in the first half.
The mercy rule kicked in late in the third quarter as Josephson scored the last five points of the period to give her team a 56-14 lead heading into the break.
Northern Lehigh seemed to have put its district title game loss to Pine Grove in the rear view mirror. Aimee Oertner said the team will use that set back as motivation.
"That put a fire under our butts," she said.
The Bulldogs are in search of their first championship after two years of great success. The team was the top seed in the past two Colonial League playoff tournaments and they were also a high seed in districts each of the past two years. Four of the team's five starters have been part of 43 wins over the past two years and the PIAA Tournament is their last shot at winning a title.
Josephson and Lauren Oertner are both seniors and the team knows that any loss in the state playoffs means the last game for this team as they know it.
"We all want to play together as long as we can," said Josephson. "In order to do that we just have to keep winning. That's our main goal. If we win we keep playing together."
Follweiler 0-0-0-0, Hams 0-0-0-0, Bastardi 2-2-2-7, Moore 0-0-0-0, Weis 1-0-0-2, Stauffer 0-0-0-0, Werley 0-0-0-0, Tarafas 0-0-0-0, L. Oertner 0-0-0-0, Josephson 7-5-8-20, A. Oertner 12-3-4-28, Seler 2-0-0-5. TOTALS: 24-10-14-62.
Lineman 0-0-0-0, Frasca 0-0-0-0, Brooks 0-0-2-0, Smith 0-0-0-0, Berrian 1-0-0-2, Ford 2-1-1-5, S. Davis 1-1-2-3, A. Davis 3-1-3-8, Kostic 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 7-3-6-18.
No. Lehigh 28 17 11 6 – 62
Bish. McDevitt 4 5 5 4 – 18
Three-pointers: NL – Bastardi 1, Josephson 1, A. Oertner 1, Seiler 1; BM – Davis 1.