Quick start powers No. Lehigh
NANCY SCHOLZ /Special to THE TIMES NEWS Northern Lehigh's Aimee Oertner (33) tips the ball to a teammate as North Schuylkill's Abby Noble.
CENTER VALLEY Twelve days was long enough.
The Northern Lehigh girls' basketball team was primed to get back on the hardwood and eliminate the bitter taste of the semifinal loss to Wilson in the Colonial League playoffs.
North Schuylkill turned into the Bulldogs' "Life Saver" Saturday night in the District 11 Class 3A quarterfinals. A 57-45 victory over the Spartans sweetened the Bulldogs' tastebuds.
"After our last performance, we wanted to sort of get that bad taste out of our mouths," Northern Lehigh coach Dave Oertner said. "We didn't want to finish with another game like that. We just had to get that one out of our system."
With the victory, the Bulldogs (23-1) gave themselves a chance at redemption in the very next round. Wilson knocked off Becahi with a 62-60 setback in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Southern Lehigh High School.
"I really wanted to play Wilson again," NL center Aimee Oertner said. "I just want to prove a point that we won't let it happen again. I really want to take it to them again."
The quest for redemption and an opportunity to redeem itself with some potential district hardware became possible thanks to a strong start.
"We executed well on offense and defensively we shut them down pretty good," Dave Oertner said. "In the second half, if we just didn't turn the ball over, I felt we could just coast.
"That's sort of what we did in the second half. We just kept taking time off the clock."
Aimee Oertner and Sonya Josephson terrorized a much smaller Spartans squad in the paint helping the Bulldogs build a six-point lead (12-6) after one and then extend it to 29-11entering half.
Oertner netted 14 of her 18 points in the first half while Josephson scored seven of her 15 in the half. The Bulldogs' defense chipped in by holding the Spartans to a mere 11 percent shooting (3-for-27) in the half.
"We made it harder for them to get back into the game," Josephson said. "If we can build a big lead like that, even if we don't play that great later on, we still have a chance of winning instead of having to work our butts off in the end and have to hit panic mode."
The panic button almost had to be pushed anyway.
North Schuylkill coach Paul Olson slapped on a full-court press right before half and kept it on the rest of the way. In doing so, the Spartans pulled as close as eight points with 5:04 left in the game. But that was as close as it got.
"I don't think we lost the game, I think we just ran out of time," said North Schuylkill's Olson."
Shleby Weikel paced the Spartans' offense with 18 points.
Deeter 2-0-0-5, D. Rupinski 0-0-0-0, Noble 1-1-2-3, Devaney 2-0-0-4, Temple 2-1-2-5, Weikel 5-7-8-18, Kramer 0-0-0-0, C. Rupinski 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 12-9-12-35.
LeVan 1-1-2-3, Bastardi 3-0-0-6, L. Oertner 2-0-0-4, Josephson 6-2-6-15, A. Oertner 9-0-1-18. TOTALS: 21-3-9-47.
NS 6 5 9 15 - 35
NL 12 17 7 11 - 47
Three-pointers: NS - Deeter 1, Weikel 1; NL - Josephson 2.