On paper, Palmerton had the advantage against host Northern Lehigh.
The Bombers won the rebounding battle and turned the ball over seven fewer times. However, the Bulldogs overcame those deficits and prevailed in the most important statistical category points to post a 42-37 Colonial League girls basketball victory on Tuesday.
"We had good shots," a dejected Palmerton coach Don Delich said. "I'm just very frustrated that we out-rebounded a team, created more turnovers than we committed, and we still came up short."
The statistics do not always tell the tale of the way the game pans out, however, as the Bulldogs prevailed for their fifth win of the season.
"For our younger kids, this was a huge confidence booster tonight," said Northern Lehigh coach Dave Oertner. "They stayed within themselves and didn't overdo it."
Those younger kids Rachel Hams, Kelsey Follweiler and Jess Olewine combined for 10 points. However, their biggest contributions occurred on the defensive end as Olewine drew Palmerton's Jade Farquhar and Hams guarded high-scoring Kelsey Hay.
Hay managed just eight points and Farquhar seven, totals that fall below their seasonal averages.
The Bulldogs outscored Palmerton in the first three frames. In the fourth, the aggressiveness picked up for the Bombers as they mounted a comeback, but it came up short..
"Those other girls really know how to stay within themselves," Oertner said. "They also know that everything with our offense has to go through Aimee (Oertner), and they need to have patience and they will get their shots."
The Northern Lehigh offense hit a speed bump early on as Oertner drew two fouls in the game's first 1:20. Her third foul came with 6:10 left in the second quarter to add to the potential problem for the Bulldogs.
However, Oertner's ability to play games in foul trouble dates back years and she continued to handle it well as the senior compiled a game-high 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocked shots as she consistently altered Palmerton shot attempts.
"Aimee Oertner is not only very athletic, but her basketball IQ is through the roof," Delich said. "Coach Oertner left her in because he knew she would be fine."
Northern Lehigh held a 30-23 lead after three frames, but the Bombers (5-4 overall, 2-3 CL) came out attacking. After Kelsey Eaton and Oertner traded buckets to start the period, Palmerton went on a 6-0 run to pull to within 32-31 with 5:08 left.
The game stayed tight as Farquhar's layup with just over two minutes remaining once again pulled her Palmerton to within a point. The Bombers had a shot to tie it or take the lead as Hay went for two free throws. But she missed both shots and Northern Lehigh took advantage to go on a 6-2 run to close out the game.
"When it came down to it, they outhustled us to the loose balls," Delich said. "They wanted it more."
Palmerton won the JV game, 41-37.
Hadinger 0-0-0-0, Rickert 0-0-0-0, Ma. Mummey 0-0-0-0, Farquhar 3-0-0-7, Mo. Mummey 1-0-0-2, Meinhart 3-0-0-6, Eaton 3-0-2-6, Snyder 4-0-2-8, Hay 3-2-4-8. TOTALS: 17-2-8-37.
Follweiler 0-0-0-0, Hams 3-0-0-6, Bastardi 5-4-10-14, Weil 0-0-0-0, Olewine 2-0-0-4, Oertner 5-8-9-18. TOTALS: 15-12-19-42.
Palmerton 6 9 6 16 - 37
No. Lehigh 10 11 9 12 - 42
Three pointers: P - Farquhar; NL - none.