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Northwestern girls keep rolling

Long ago, Northwestern Lehigh clinched a spot in districts, and since then has gone on to also secure a spot in the Colonial League playoffs.

The Tigers still have one piece of unfinished business to attend to during the regular season, so they are not simply going to play out the stretch. Coming into their penultimate game of the season, the Tigers are still battling for the division championship, which would give them a first round bye in league playoffs.

With that in mind, Northwestern shook off a pesky Northern Lehigh team and went on to post a 54-23 victory Friday night.

Paige Sevrain led the way with 17 points for Northwestern (20-1, 15-1 CL), while Cara Thomas finished with 10 in the win.

The Bulldogs (13-8, 9-8 CL) grabbed the lead away from the Tigers early when Aubrey Pollard hit the second of two foul shots with 3:41 to play in the first quarter. The lead again changed hands, and Northwestern led by one after the first quarter.

Northern Lehigh got a quick basket from Katelynn Barthold to regain the lead at 8-7. The Bulldogs again tied the game at 10-10 on a drive by Pollard, who scored 14 points on the night to lead her team.

Northwestern held just a two-point lead at 14-12 with 2:23 left in the first half, but closed the quarter with a 9-0 run as they began to take control.

“Teams are going to come out every night to try to beat us, and Northern Lehigh did that tonight,” said Northwestern coach Chris Deutsch. “The last three minutes of the first half we ramped it up a little bit, and it made a difference coming out in the third quarter.”

If the Bulldogs were hoping the break would cool off the Northwestern shooters, it didn’t happen. The Tigers scored the first four points of the second half and led by 15 with 6:06 left in the third quarter.

After Pollard sank two free throws, Northwestern went on its second extended run of the night and scored the next 11 points to move in front 38-15 with 0:15 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers went almost exclusively with role players in the final quarter, but they were able to keep Northern Lehigh from pulling any closer. Sophomore Rylee McGinley scored seven of her eight points over the final 5:30 of the game, nailing three-pointers on back-to-back Tiger possessions.

“Riley has been playing really well lately for us,” said Deutsch. “She can come off the bench and hit some threes against the zone, and that’s important for us to have someone who can do that. She has continued to get better throughout the year, and she played well again tonight.”

“I think that (hitting threes) is one of my specialties,” added McGinley, who is averaging 3.4 points per game off the bench and has scored 18 in the last two games. “Early in the game can be rough because if you’re in a different gym you have to get adjusted to the basket, but once you start hitting them you just get on a roll.”

McGinley has been solid off the bench for Deutsch, scoring 10 points in a win over Salisbury earlier in the week.

“Earlier in the season there were some nerves, but as the season has gone on, I just feel more comfortable and confident on the court with my teammates,” said McGinley.


... With Palmerton (18-3, 16-1) and Northwestern both winning Friday night, the Tigers must beat Catasauqua (9-11, 6-10) in the season finale to clinch the division title and have a first-round bye in the Colonial League playoffs. With the loss, Northern Lehigh will be the No. 6 seed in the league playoffs and will play at either Palmerton or Northwestern - whoever finises as the division runner-up - in the opening round.

“It would be nice to have that extra time to get a bit of a break and get everybody rejuvenated and ready for the playoffs,” said Deutsch about the potential for a first-round bye.


H. Gober 1-0-3-2, Balliet 1-1-2-3, Miller 1-0-0-3, Bissell 1-0-0-3, Freeman 0-0-0-0, McGinley 2-2-4-8, Thomaas 4-2-4-10, Fenstermaker 0-0-0-0, Fisher 3-0-2-6, G. Gober 1-0-0-2, Sevrain 7-3-4-17, TEAM 21-8-19-54


Whalen 0-0-2-0, K. Barthold 2-0-3-4, Pollard 5-4-5-14, Bosch 0-0-0-0, D. Barthold 1-2-4-5, Peters 0-0-0-0, Richards 0-0-0-0, Snyder 0-0-0-0, TEAM 8-6-14-23

Northwestern 7 16 15 16 - 54

No. Lehigh 6 6 5 6 - 23

Three-pointers: Northwestern – McGinley 2, Miller 1, Bissell 1. Northern Lehigh – D. Barthold 1.

Northwestern's Brook Balliet lays up a shot between Northern Lehigh defenders Dekota Barthold (30), Aubrey Pollard (15) and Jackie Richards (34). MIKE FEIFEL/TIMES NEWS