Blue Bombers trim NL
Palmerton’s Casi Papay drives past Northern Lehigh’ Sophie Lear during Friday’s game. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Being down as many as 12 points Friday night, Northern Lehigh went on a 17-5 run to tie Palmerton at 44.
But just after Jada Saeger nailed the key three-pointer to force the deadlock, Bulldogs’ coach Ken Shankweiler called for a foul with 43 seconds to go.
Palmerton’s Casi Papay sank the two free throws to give the Bombers a lead they didn’t relinquish in a 50-44 Colonial League victory.
“Northern Lehigh did a nice job of coming back on us to tie it,” Palmerton head coach Dan Beck said. “But our girls battled and made some big plays down the stretch.”
Beck said he was caught a little offguard when Northern Lehigh decided to foul with the game tied.
“I was really surprised, and I actually looked at my assistant coach and mentioned that,” Beck added. “I don’t think I would’ve fouled at that time. But they might’ve seen something earlier in the year or scouting.
“Give Casi credit. She made the two free throws with a lot of pressure on her She put two down and it was nice. It was key.”
Two more free throws from Kayla Cincilla iced a physical game between the two rivals.
“I shouldn’t have called for the foul in a tie game with (under a minute) left,” Shankweiler said. “That was my mistake. It was a game we gave away.
“It’s always physical when we play them. They’re a good basketball team. Everybody scores and they move the ball around well. They also play good defense. It was a tough loss, especially when we had a chance there at the end. “
Northern Lehigh only led once during the game early in the first quarter. The key matchup on the night came between the schools’ two shooting guards. Freshman Brianna Moore has been having a stellar first year for the Bombers, but the Bulldogs held her to four points on the night. Saeger kept her honest in Shankweiler’s game plan, and Palmerton (6-8) had to change up its offense when Moore got injured while fighting for the ball.
“Jada knew what she does and her tendencies,” Shankweiler said of Moore. “I thought she did a really good job on her.
“She’s a nice player. I love watching her play. But Jada played her very well and she did exactly what I needed to her do. I thought we did a good job on her.”
Free throws became crucial in the game, as the Bombers made 15 of their 20 attempts. On the other hand, the Bulldogs (6-7) shot 10-for-22 at the line.
Saeger led the scoring on the night with 28 points for Northern Lehigh.
Baylee Guedes and Kayla Cincilla each had 18 points for the Bombers.
“It’s been a while since Kayla (Cincilla) has been back in the lineup. She played the last game and this game. This was only her third or fourth game that’s she been in this year. She’s been missed, and it’s been great to have her back, too.”
GAME PLAN FOR SAEGER... Beck talked about containing Saeger. “We said wherever she was at, we tried to look to help defense and throw some different things at them. She just seems to get open. She can shoot a few feet behind the arc. She’s a special player also. We tried to double her as much as we could and they did a nice job with that,” he said.
BECK ON BRIANNA MOORE... “Brianna does a great job for us. She’s a freshman and she’s learning. She got injured there in the third quarter, but I think she’s going to be OK. We’ll have to see what happens the next couple of days. She’s just a great athlete and very instinctive and does a great job,” added Beck.
WE MEET AGAIN ... Northern Lehigh will host Palmerton in the regular season finale on Feb. 5.
Guelcher 0-0-0-0, Lear 0-1-4-1, Hoffman 1-1-3-3, Saeger 9-7-12-28, Seier 0-1-3-1, Niebell 4-0-0-11. TOTALS: 14-10-22-44.
H. Guedes 0-0-0-0, Papay 2-5-6-10, B. Guedes 6-6-9-18, Cincilla 6-4-5-18, Recker 0-0-0-0, Beahm 0-0-0-0, Nemeth 0-0-0-0 Moore 2-0-0-4, Nothstein 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-15-20-50.
No. Lehigh 11 10 10 13 - 44
Palmerton 15 17 7 11 - 50
Three-pointers: Northern Lehigh - Saeger 3, Niebell 3; Palmerton - Cincilla 2, Papay 1.