Lady Bulldogs not resting on success
bob ford/times news Northern Lehigh girls basketball team members include, front row, from left, Timmi Fiske, Christina Bastardi, Rachel Barnett and Kristi Seiler. Second row, manager Payton Marunich, Emily Moore, Autumn Stauffer, Maggie LeVan, Krista Harakal and manager Samantha Gill. Back row, head coach Dave Oertner, assistant coach Andrea Nuschke, manager Marissa Fatzinger, Courtney Werley, Lauren Oertner, Aimee Oertner, Sonya Josephson, Rebecca Howell, manager Michelle Bingert and assistant coach Scott Gerould.
Last season was definitely one to remember for the Northern Lehigh girls basketball team.
The Lady Bulldogs qualified for the league playoffs for the first time in the Colonial League's 15-year history after capturing the West Division with a 13-5 league mark.
They also put an end to a six-year District 11 playoff drought with a 16-win regular season.
But the slate has been wiped clean and the Bulldogs are hoping for an even better performance this season.
"We had a nice year last year, but we just would like to build on that (17-8 record)," said head coach Dave Oertner, who helped turn the girl's basketball program around from a 6-18 record in 2007-08. "We would like to go a step further. We always look to get better.
"Sometimes competition dictates how many wins and losses you get."
Eighty percent of last year's starting lineup Tina Bastardi, Aimee Oertner, Sonya Josephson and Lauren Oertner returns for the Bulldogs. Oertner will have to replace starter Jackie Follweiler, sixth-man Sarah Arndt and Haley Bomboy.
Josephson and Lauren Oertner return with two years of starting under their belts, while Aimee Oertner and Bastardi return after breaking into the starting lineup last season as freshmen.
While there's plenty of veteran players returning, the Bulldogs are looking to the program's lone senior, Maggie LeVan, to take on a whole new role.
In the last three years, LeVan has come off the bench in a total of 46 games. This season, the Bulldogs are looking for her to fill the final spot on the starting lineup.
"We always look for senior leadership," said Oertner after being asked about LeVan. "She's done a great job for us for sure. But, the other girls they have been around the game, so they know what to do as well."
Meanwhile, Oertner will bring junior Kristi Seiler and sophomore Rebecca Howell off the bench to give the starters a breather.
With the key players in place to begin the season, the Bulldogs are focusing more on growing as a team throughout the regular season rather than looking too far down the road.
"We're probably different than others as we don't talk about that stuff (goals)," said Oertner, who enters his fourth year as head coach. "We talk about doing the best we can do and executing well and letting things take care of themselves. We believe if you do what you're supposed to do every night execute and play to the best of your abilty the wins will take care of themselves and you will end up where you're supposed to be.
"We obviously feel we can be very successful, but things have to fall into place. Depending on what happens with the other teams, you simply don't know how things may unfold. You just want to play to the best of your ability and wherever that gets us, it gets us."