Lady 'Dawgs to defend tourney title
MIKE FEIFEL/TIMES NEWS Northern Lehigh's Rachel Harris looks for a teammate as Lehighton's Maria Magyar applies some pressure.
The Northern Lehigh girls basketball team has enjoyed immense success in recent years at the annual Lady Indians Holiday Classic.
In fact, it has been able to capture the Classic the last three seasons, with center Aimee Oertner winning the tournament MVP in each of those years.
Oertner and the Lady 'Dawgs once again showed no signs of giving up their spot as Classic champs, routing Lehighton 50-9 in the opening round of tournament play on Monday night.
Northern Lehigh attacked Lehighton right from the tip, using Oertner to dismantle the Lady Indian defense inside.
The Lady Indians simply had no answer for Oertner's presence, scoring 11 of her game-high 25 points in the first quarter.
Oertner, who is always a threat to score with her offensive abilities is also a terrific passer and used an inside-outside passing game to set shop up on the block throughout the evening.
"We really hadn't seen them play, but we knew they weren't big," said Northern Lehigh coach Dave Oertner. "Our goal was to get the ball inside and the girls did a good job of getting the ball down-low to Aimee all night. We passed the ball well and got out to a nice lead right from the start."
The Northern Lehigh defensive earned its due on Monday night as well holding Lehighton to single digits in every quarter and stifling the Lehighton offense on almost every offensive possession. Lehighton committed 15 turnovers in the first half, which pretty much put the game out of reach by half-time with Northern Lehigh leading 36-5.
"I couldn't ask for a better defensive effort from the girls," said Oertner. "We rebounded great and limited them to just one shot on the offensive end, which helped the game swing our way early on."
Lehighton's Tiffany Thompson showed at times that she should get to the rim at times on the Northern Lehigh defense, getting to the foul-line seven times, while scoring two field goals on the Lady 'Dawgs.
With the win Northern Lehigh will face an undefeated Jim Thorpe Lady Olympians squad in the championship game. Thorpe features the talented Celeste Robinson, who is leading the TIMES NEWS area in scoring with 26.75 points per game. Oertner is second in the area averaging 20.25 points per contest.
"I talked to the girls a little bit about them in the lockeroom right after the game," said Oertner. "Robinson is a really good player and we have to make sure she doesn't get to go on-on-one because she will hurt us if she does. We just have to play under control and handle their full-court pressure and I think then we'll be okay. We're going to make adjustments as the game goes on and I'm sure they'll do the same. We just have to see how things go tommorrow night."
Follweiler 0-1-2-1, Hams 3-0-0-6, Bastardi 5-0-0-11, Well 2-0-0-5, Stauffer 0-0-0-0, Ollewine 1-0-0-2, Tarafas 0-0-0-0, Bevans 0-0-0-0, Oertner 11-3-3-25. TOTALS: 22-4-5-50.
Blasiak 0-0-0-0, Barclay 0-0-0-0, Shelly 1-0-0-2, Magyar 0-0-0-0, Yurasits 0-0-2-0, Durishin 0-1-4-1, Thompson 2-2-7-6, Cordeva 0-0-2-0. TOTALS: 3-3-13-9.
No. Lehigh 18 18 8 6 - 50
Lehighton 2 3 1 3 - 9
Three-pointers- NL-Bastardi 1, Well 1.