Bomber girls rally for victory
A big third quarter carried Palmerton to a Colonial League victory over Northwestern on Thursday night.
Trailing by double digits in the first half and still down by five points at halftime, the Bombers turned up the pressure defense, forcing 11 third-quarter turnovers to rally for a 53-40 win.
Reagan Nemeth had a big night for Palmerton (3-0 overall, 2-0 Colonial), scoring 26 points, including 12 in the runaway third quarter that saw Palmerton outscore the Tigers, 26-6. The senior player hit three three-pointers, went 4-for-6 from the foul line, and was ferocious defensively. Sophomore Sydney Frantz finished with 11 points in an impressive showing for Palmerton.
Freshman Cara Thomas led Northwestern (2-1, 1-1) with 11 points, while Paige Sevrain dropped in 10.
Sevrain picked up four quick points on two layups early in the game as Palmerton left her open under the basket. The Bombers closed that defensive hole, but freshman Brook Balliet started knocking down outside jump shots, including a three-pointer. Balliet finished the quarter with seven points.
When Cara Thomas drove the lane for the first points of the second quarter, the Tigers lead was 21-11. Palmerton made up some ground during the remainder of the quarter, but still trailed 28-23 at halftime.
The game was reminiscent of last year’s Colonial League final between the two teams, only in reverse. Then, it was Palmerton with a seven-point lead at the break and Northwestern battling back from a sluggish start to get the win and the league championship.
“That was on our minds because we didn’t do so well in that game, and I personally did not do so well,” said Nemeth, who was held scoreless in the championship. “The first two quarters tonight, we were a little overconfident with ourselves, so we just had to knock down our attitudes a little. We started working as a team more, and that was why we played so much better in the second half.”
Switching to a pressure defense certainly helped, especially against a young Northwestern team that hadn’t encountered such a daunting defense through its first two games.
“I thought our first half was the best half of basketball we played this season. In fact, I thought we played well in the fourth quarter, too,” said Northwestern coach Chris Deutsch. “That third quarter was bad, and they created that with their defense, and you have to credit them for that.
“I look at it as a good learning experience. Our younger players are going to learn how to face that.”
The big third quarter gave Palmerton a comfortable 49-34 lead heading into the final period.
“I was so proud of them tonight,” said Palmerton coach Dan Beck, who had never beaten Northwestern away from the Blue Bombers’ home court. “We let them do what we should have done in the first half, but then we stepped it up in the second half and played much better.
“They’re a bigger school, and they are well coached and have an excellent reputation around the league, so to come up here and get a win is nice.”
ICE, ICE BABY .
.. As a freshman, Sydney Frantz scored six points in last year’s league championship game. She finished with 11 in this meeting, and was tough defensively. Beck lauded her for her athletic ability, and has given her the nickname “Ice” because nothing bothers her. Classmate Megan Matsko was scoreless, but played a tenacious defense and also pulled down six rebounds.
Frantz 5-0-1-11, Barry 0-0-0-0, Matsko 0-0-0-0, K. Balliet 0-0-0-0, Nemeth 9-4-6-26, Morgan 3-2-2-8, Moore 4-0-0-8. TOTALS: 21-6-7-53.
Brook Balliet 3-0-0-7, Brynn Balliet 1-1-1-3, McGinley 0-1-2-1, Thomas 4-2-2-11, Nyce 0-0-0-0, Fisher 1-0-0-2, Dorney 2-0-0-6, Kirkopoulos 0-0-0-0, Sevrain 5-0-0-10. TOTALS: 16-4-5-40.
Palmerton 11 12 26 4 - 53
Northwestern 19 9 6 6 - 40
Three-pointers: P - Nemeth 4, Frantz 1. NW - Dorney 2, Brook Balliet 1, Thomas 1.