Three area girls teams play Saturday
DISTRICT 11 AAA GIRLS
No. 4 Northwestern (22-2) vs.
No. 5 North Schuylkill (19-4)
TIPOFF: Saturday, February 23 at Martz Hall
COACHES: Northwestern - Chris Deutsch; North Schuylkill - John Rizzo
LEADING SCORERS: Northwestern - Sara Jones (15 ppg), Sarah Segan (10.4), Sabrina Mertz (8.7), Trista Cunningham 8.7; North Schuylkill - Carly Gregas (8.6), seven others with three or more points per game.
GAME NOTES: The No. 4 Tigers started the season 20-0 but have lost two of their last four games, including the Colonial League title game against Southern Lehigh last Friday….North Schuylkill knocked the Tigers out of last year's playoffs in the first round….The Spartans use a full-court press for 32 minutes….The Tigers have a clear go-to player in 1,000-point scorer Sara Jones, but any of their five starters, or even one of their bench players, can pick up the scoring load if North Schuylkill can manage to slow down Jones….The Spartans average 51.7 points per game while giving up 30. Northwestern scores 53.1 points per contest while allowing 34.1….Deutsch called Friday's title-game loss to Southern Lehigh the most devastating of his any in his nine years as head coach….The Tigers beat Notre Dame (Green Pond) in the first round of the Colonial League playoffs. North Schuylkill fell to Tri Valley in the first round of the Schuylkill League playoffs….While the Tigers haven't been to Martz Hall for a playoff game in a few years, it is the site where they beat Pine Grove for the 2006 Class AA title. That marked the only year that a Schuylkill League team hasn't hoisted the Class AA trophy since Palmerton won the 1997 title.
QUOTEABLE: "They're aggressive and physical. They try to wear you down. Ball handling against their pressure defense will be important for us. We want to push it when we can, but if we have to set up then we will set up. Every time we have to play a Schuylkill League team [at a neutral site] it's at Martz. I think it's a great place to play. Some of our best basketball experiences have been at Martz Hall." Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch.
DISTRICT 11 AAA GIRLS
No 6 Palmerton (14-8) vs.
No 3 Bethlehem Catholic (21-2)
TIPOFF: Saturday, February 23 at 2:30 p.m. at Catasauqua High School
COACHES: Bethlehem Catholic - Bill Lancsek, Palmerton - Don Delich
LEADING SCORERS: Bethlehem Catholic - Kalista Walters (18.9), Bridget Smith (11.0), Nicole Lacherza (4.9), Nia Mims (4.8); Palmerton - Jade Farquhar (12.33), Emelie Meinhart (11.95), Madison Mummey (6.18), Morgan Mummey (5.33).
GAME NOTES: The two teams last met in the D-11 quarterfinals two years ago, when the Lady Bombers defeated the Golden Hawks in overtime...the sole common opponent that the two teams have played against this season is Moravian Academy and both teams defeated the Lions. Bethlehem Catholic beat Moravian, 59-14, while Palmerton defeated Moravian, 74-44...The Golden Hawks are ranked 26th in the state according to MaxPreps. They had a 14-0 regular season record in the highly-competitive Lehigh Valley Conference...Becahi's only losses came at the hands of Eleanor Roosevelt (49-46) in the Holy Hoops Tournament and to Parkland (60-54) in the league semifinals...Bethlehem Catholic's starting point guard, Janelle Robinson, went down with an injury and is out for the remainder of the season...5-11 senior Bridget Smith averages a double-double for the Hawks, scoring 11 points per game and pulling down 10.5 rebounds a contest. Kalista Walters, a 6-0 sophomore, is not only Beca's top point producer, but is also a mainstay in the paint as she averages 7.2 caroms and almost three blocks a game...For Palmerton, sophomore point guard Jade Farquhar leads the team in scoring and recently scored a career high 33 points against Pen Argyl on Feb 5. Senior Emelie Meinhart is one of the Lady Bombers top rebounders and had a season-high 24 points against East Stroudsburg North on Dec 22...Both teams use multiple defenses, but traditionally will rely on their man-to-man defense for the majority of their games...The last time Palmerton won a District 11 championship was 1996-97 when it participated in Class AA.
QUOTABLE - "Bethlehem Catholic is obviously very talented. They're very athletic and they are bigger, stronger, and quicker than us. We're going to have to show up and play hard and do things that we think we can be successful doing. On paper, they should beat us, but you never know what can happen. That's the reason you play the game. They're missing their starting point guard, so we will try and defend them the entire length of the court and hopefully that will bring their big girls away from the basket a little. We are playing our best basketball right now. We scrimmaged against Tamaqua and Salisbury and we also had some members of our boys basketball team come to practices and we've been able to compete against them. We're looking forward to the challenge of playing against a good, quality team like Bethlehem Catholic." - Palmerton head coach Don Delich.
DISTRICT 11 A GIRLS
No. 6 Nativity (11-11) vs.
No. 3 Marian (15-8)
TIPOFF: Saturday, February 23 at Martz Hall, 5:30 p.m.
COACHES: Nativity - George Forney; Marian - Paul Brutto
LEADING SCORERS: Nativity - Olivia Andrefski (13.9 ppg), Allison Warren (11.4), Erin Luckenbill (10.4), Mariah Sabol (5.8), Brianne Hughes (3.3); Marian - Gabby Green (13.3), Sam Faust (8.0), Savanna Krusinsky (7.4), Lindsay Nemeth (5.7).
GAME NOTES: In addition to meeting during the Schuylkill League regular season, Marian and Nativity seemed to be banging heads annually in the postseason for the better part of the past two decades ... This season, The Fillies and and Golden Girls split their Schuylkill League Division III games. Marian scored a 44-31 in Pottsville while Nativity escaped with a 55-53 win in Hometown ... After a rare two-year stretch when the teams didn't meet in postseason play, the Fillies and Golden Girls will meet in Districts for the first time since 2010. The Golden Girls ousted the Fillies in the semifinals that year, 56-42 The two teams have played for numerous D-11 championships over the years, the last time was in 2008 when the Fillies beat Nativity, 46-31.... Marian is hoping to return to the District 11 Class A title game for the second straight season. Last year, the Fillies suffered a 60-52 setback in the championship game to Tri-Valley ... Marian coach Paul Brutto explained the Golden Girls have a nice blend of everything a shooter, an athlete and an inside presence, making them difficult to defend. The Golden Girls' Allison Warren presents a threat outside the three-point line. Erin Luckenbill, at 5-11, is a big, strong player who will present some match-up problems inside for the Fillies. Olivia Andrefski is probably Nativity's best all-around player and athlete. She can score inside, outside and handle the ball very well.
QUOTEABLE: "We're excited. They're a rivalry game whether it's at the beginning of the season or in the playoffs. It has been a rivalry for the last 10-15 years because both programs have been either good or very good. We run into each other a lot. This is something our kids have been playing for and working for all summer and so has Nativity. So,we're pumped up. We lost a tough game to them at home in late January. We had a couple of nice leads on them and to their credit they were able to come back and take it away from us. So, it's a district game. It's win or go on and loser go home. It's a big rivalry game, so it's a lot of things wrapped up in one." Marian head coach Paul Brutto.