'Dawgs too big for Tigers
Northern Lehigh's Lauren Oertner and Northwestern Lehigh's Coleen Suter get set to go after a loose ball in the paint. BOB FORD /TIMES NEWS
The Northern Lehigh girls' basketball team is fully aware of where the strength of its program stands.
Northwestern found out first hand that its Colonial League North Division rival doesn't lack anything as far as height goes.
The Bulldogs (4-0 overall, 2-0 CL) used its height to its advantage against a smaller Tigers' team to remain unbeaten with a a 65-21 league victory on Wednesday night.
"We knew coming in that as far as physical presence out there they were going to have a hard time with us," Dave Oertner said. "So, we just took the ball and went to the block right away and we were pretty successful at it."
With Natalie Hill clearly standing as the Tigers' tallest player at 5-10, the Bulldogs immediately turned to their trio of towers - Aimee Oertner (6-2), Sonya Josephson (6-0) and Lauren Oertner (5-11) - to create havoc in the paint.
After Jennifer Gulick gave the Tigers a quick 3-0 lead with a three-pointer, it was all downhill from there as the Bulldogs' guards, Tina Bastardi and Maggie LeVan, kept finding ways to feed the ball inside to the taller Oertner sisters and Josephson.
"That's a reason why a lot of people are picking them to win our league this year," said Deutsch, of the Bulldogs' height advantage. "We just couldn't stop them. It didn't matter what defense we ran against them. We just could not stop them. We ran man, zone. It just didn't matter. Whatever we did, they scored."
In fact, six of the Bulldogs' eight buckets in a 19-0 first quarter run came from within the post.
It was Josephson who had no problem scoring against the Tigers' defense in the early going. The junior Bulldog scored 11 of her 21 points either on an easy lay-up or a put-back off a teammate's missed shot.
It didn't get any better for the Tigers (0-3, 0-2) in the second period either. This time it was Aimee Oertner who became the Bulldogs' go-to person.
While the Tigers managed to sporadically score nine points throughout their most prolific quarter, the youngest Oertner nearly doubled that output herself alone in the same period. She ended up scoring 11 of her game-high 22 points right before intermission.
Oertner was glad to see her Bulldogs utilize its strength to build a 40-12 lead entering half.
"We have a really big height advantage on pretty much every team in the league this year," Aimee Oertner said. "We just used that to our advantage. We kept pounding the ball inside.
"We have plays specifically for us with our height and such and it worked tonight."
After the half, it was the same story as the Bulldogs' triple threat manhandled the Tigers inside. Josephson, Lauren Oertner, who scored double digits as well with 13, and Aimee Oertner accounted for 17 of the Bulldogs 20 points in the third quarter.
"All of a sudden, Lauren hit one, Sonya hit one and Amie hit a jump shot and it really opened things up," said Coach Oertner, about the inside presence showing they can shoot from the outside as well. "Then, they had to try and come out and cover that a little bit. And, they just couldn't cover both areas."
In the JV game, Northern Lehigh needed overtime for a 34-30 victory over Northwestern. Kaleen Suter, who finished with a Tigers-high 16 points, hit a back-end of a free-throw with .1 seconds left on the clock to send the game into overtime. The Bulldogs' Krista Harakal also finished with 16 points, while Rebecca Howell hit double figures with 12.
Gulick 2-0-0-6, Landrigan 0-0-0-0, Groller 0-0-0-0, Jones 2-0-0-4, Suter 0-0-0-0, MacLaughlin 0-1-2-1, L. Gimbel 0-0-0-0, A. Gimbel 0-0-0-0, Everett 3-0-0-6, Hill 2-0-0-4. TOTALS: 9-1-2-21.
LeVan 2-4-6-8, Bastardi 1-0-0-2, Moore 0-0-0-0, Barnett 0-0-0-0, Stauffer 0-0-0-0, Harakal 0-0-0-0, Werley 0-0-0-0, Fiske 0-0-0-0, L. Oertner 6-1-3-13, Josephson 9-1-2-21, A. Oertner 10-2-7-22, Howell 0-1-2-1, Seiler 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 28-7-20-65.
Northwestern 3 9 4 5 - 21
Northern Lehigh 19 21 20 5 - 65
Three-pointers: NW: Gulick 2; NL: Josephson 2.