nancy scholz/times news Northern Lehigh's Aimee Oertner goes up with a shot over Salisbury's Meagan Eripret.
ALLENTOWN Aimee Oertner doesn't need to score a lot of baskets to lead her team to a win.
Friday night in a District 11 Class AA quarterfinal, Oertner made just three field goals, but she connected on 13 of 15 fouls shots, blocked seven shots and pulled down 14 rebounds in her team's 43-38 win over Salisbury at Allen High School.
"Our coach wasn't here and that was a little downer," Oertner said. "Tina [Bastardi] and I knew we had to take charge. We knew there was a lot of pressure, but we just kept our heads level and played our game."
With Bulldog head coach and Aimee's father Dave Oertner unable to coach the game because of a suspension, Oernter scored 19 points to help her team advance. It will play No. 1 seed Pine Grove on Tuesday at Parkland at 6 p.m. and Dave will be back on the sideline.
While Salisbury caved in on Oertner every time she went to the basket Friday night, she took advantage by drawing seven fouls through the first three quarters as her team built an 11-point lead.
"We knew they'd get to the foul line a lot because Aimee is very adept at doing that," said Salisbury head coach Bob Mazziottta. "She made hers. We didn't make ours."
Salisbury went just 4 for 12 from the foul line while Northern Lehigh made 23 of 31. The Bulldogs scored just 10 field goals in the game, while Salisbury had 17.
"We outscored them by seven field goals," said Mazziotta. "You can't lose when you do that."
The Bulldogs' 11-point lead after three quarters dwindled over the final stanza. Salisbury's 6-foot-2 freshman Meagan Eripret, who was the victim of many of Oertner's blocked shots, scored all eight of her team's points on an 8-2 run that opened the fourth quarter and trimmed the lead to five.
Salisbury eventually cut Northern Lehigh's lead to two points, 40-38, after a Megan Hrebik steal and basket with 2:34 left.
But Northern Lehigh, which had started running a slow-down offense with just under four minutes left and a five-point lead, held the Falcons scoreless after Herbik's basket.
"We showed good patience down at the end," said Bulldog assistant coach Mike Lehtonen. "Dave [Oertner] did a great job preparing them for this game. He prepared more than ever. Even though he wasn't here tonight, give him a lot of credit."
Bastardi, a senior and four-year starting point guard, made three of four foul shots in the final minute to seal the win. She scored 11 points and had four steals in the game.
Salisbury had the early lead and was ahead most of the first quarter, but never by more than four.
The Bulldogs took control with a 10-0 run in the second quarter which included six Oertner free throws and gave them an 18-12 lead with 3:35 left in the first half. The Bulldogs pulled away in the third quarter, building the lead to 11 before Salisbury's late comeback attempt.
Eripret led the Falcons with 19 points. Herbik, who averages 14 points per game, scored just eight and went 4 for 11 from the field while being guarded all game by Olewine.
"Jess Olewine played one of the league all stars and she did nice job on her," said Lehtonen. "She kind of shut her down. We did not want her to break loose."
The No. 4 seed Falcons (11-12) made just 17 of 55 shots and were 0 for 6 from three-point range.
"I thought sooner or later something's going to fall from the outside, maybe a three," said Mazziotta. "It just didn't materialize."
Northern Lehigh (12-11), the No. 5 seed, moves on to the semifinal against a somewhat familiar opponent in the Cardinals, who beat the Bulldogs 41-31 in last year's district final. Pine Grove had a bye into the semifinal.
Follweiler 1-3-4-5, Hams 1-1-2-2, Bastardi 3-5-8-11, Olewine 2-1-2-5, Oertner 3-13-15-19. TOTALS: 10-23-31-43.
Ferrol 1-0-2-2, Hrebik 4-0-0-8, Gonoude 0-0-0-0, Watkins 0-0-0-0, Eripret 8-3-6-19, Szita 1-0-0-2, Greenholt 2-0-0-4, Toman 0-0-0-0, Garrigan 1-1-4-3. TOTALS: 17-4-12-38.
No. Lehigh 8 12 15 8 - 43
Salisbury 10 8 6 14 - 38
Three-pointers - None.