Five area teams in semifinal round action
Jim Thorpe and Tamaqua will meet for the third time this seaon, while Northwestern takes on Bethlehem Catholic with a berth in the girls’ Class 4A final on the line.
Meanwhile, Panther Valley and Palmerton end long layoffs, hitting the court in the boys’ Class 3A semis.
Girls District 11 Class 4A Semifinal
No. 1 Bethlehem Catholic (21-4) vs. No. 4 Northwestern (21-4)
TIP OFF: Wednesday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m, at Catasauqua High School
COACHES: Bethlehem Catholic - Jose Medina; Northwestern - Chris Deutsch
LEADING SCORERS: Bethlehem Catholic - Kourtney Wilson (11.6 ppg.), Abigail Brown (8.7), Jaleese Lainer (8.2), Briana Barnard (6.6), Isabelle Rosario 3.8); Northwestern - Emily Sekerak (11.00), Sage Christopher (10.96), Sydney Sevrain (10.33), Alexandra Lister (6.88), Kailyn Jones (3.67)
GAME NOTES: This is the first time the two teams have met this season ... The Golden Hawks are two-time defending Class 4A champions ... Becahi has not lost since suffering back-to-back setbacks to Lancaster Catholic (64-55 on Jan. 26) and Freedom (49-44 on Jan. 31) ... Southern Lehigh defeated Becahi 52-42 on Jan. 19. The Spartans defeated Northwestern three times this season - 45-30 (Dec. 14), 51-34 (Jan, 22) and 55-18 in the Colonial League Tournament on Feb. 14 ... The Golden Hawks captured their third straight Eastern Pennsylvania Conference title with a 59-48 victory over Northampton ... The Tigers are seeking their first trip to the state tournament since 2007. Three teams qualify for states in Class 4A ... Top seed Becahi had a bye into the semifinal round, while Northwestern posted a 52-41 victory over Allentown Central Catholic to reach the semis. The Tigers got hot outside shooting from Sydney Sevrain (17 points) in the victory. Sage Christopher and sophomore Emily Sekerak scored nine points apiece, while Kaylin Jones tallied eight ... Sevrain went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 2:03 against Central Catholic to help seal the win. She made 11 of 12 free throws on the night.
Girls District 11 Class 4A Semifinal
No. 2 Jim Thorpe (25-0) vs. No. 3 Tamaqua (20-4)
TIP OFF: Wednesday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m, at Martz Hall
COACHES: Jim Thorpe - Rob Kovac; Tamaqua - Erika Davis
LEADING SCORERS: Jim Thorpe - Skyler Searfoss (18.88 ppg.), Leila Hurley (12.54), Olivia Smelas (11.79), Natalia Richards (5.75), Kristen Scott (4.21); Tamaqua - Emma Kuczynski (21.48), Emily Titus (9.48), Jamie Zuber (5.96), Jen Frederickson (5.87).
GAME NOTES: This is the third meeting between the two teams this season, The Olympians won 55-49 on Jan. 4, and 66-58 on Jan. 24 ... Jim Thorpe defeated Wilson 60-31 in the quarters, while Tamaqua downed Pine Grove 53-31 ... The Olympians led the Warriors 27-9 at halftime, Freshmen Skyler Searfoss, Olivia Smelas and Leila Hurley combined for all 19 second-quarter points ... Searfoss led the way for Thorpe with 24 points. Smelas added 15, while Hurley scored 14. Smelas also had 12 rebounds, while Searfoss dished out six assists ... Jim Thorpe’s defense never let Wilson get into a rhythm, holding the Warriors to a 2-for-17 shooting performance in the first half ... The Raiders posted a 51-40 victory over Pine Grove in the quarterfinals. Tamaqua shot 18-for-38, including 9-for-17 in the second half. Jamie Zuber led the Raiders with 18 points, while Emma Kuczynski tallied eight points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Zuber’s five triples give her 37 on the season, which leads the team. Rebekah Hromyak added 10 points. Jen Fredrickson and Emily Titus both scored eight points ... Jim Thorpe is seeking its first trip to the state playoffs. Tamaqua has not qualified for states since 2011. Three teams from Class 4A make it to states.
Boys District 11 Class 3A Semifinals
No. 2 Panther Valley (15-7) VS. No. 3 New Hope-Solebury (13-9)
TIP OFF: Wednesday, February 27 @ 6 p.m, at Martz Hall
COACHES: Panther Valley - Patrick Crampsie; New Hope-Solebury - Richard Fidele
LEADING SCORERS: Panther Valley - Rene Figueroa (24.91 ppg., 66 3s), Brandon Stilitino (12.05, 68 3s), Erick Marcharro (10.27), Trey Turner (8.27), Blake White (6.05); New Hope-Solebury: Topher Taylor (6-7, Sr. C), Patrick Cooney (6-2, Sr. G/F), Alex Walinsky (6-2, So. G), Michael Borys (5-9, Jr. G), Kyle McLaughlin (5-7, So. G).
GAME NOTES: This is the second season in a row that Panther Valley has made the district playoffs, after going five years without ... Last season, the Panthers made it to the AA final, before falling to Moravian Academy, but qualified for the state tourney, where they lost to Math, Civics and Science in the first round ... The Panthers last took home a district title in 1986 ... The Lions of New Hope-Solebury began this season winning five of their first six, then had an up-and-down year, en route to a 13-9 regular season ... Panther Valley began the 2018-19 season 11-2, before a mid-season skid (losing four of five), and ended its regular season winning three of their last four ... Both the Panthers and Lions have had long layoffs since their last outing. The Panthers last played on Feb. 8, the Lions on Feb. 7 ... Panthers’ coach Pat Crampsie took the time away from competition to focus on improvement, “We took the first 10 days to work on improving conditioning, spacing, timing, added some things to enhance our sets. We also scrimmaged twice, which went well. We then spent the last five days dialed in on New Hope.” ... The scouting report for the Lions features an inside presence in 6-7 senior center Topher Taylor, and an outside threat in Alex Walinsky ... Crampsie noted the Lions’ willingness to slow the game down, and play half-court sets, making his squad’s game plan to speed things up, saying, “We need to get out in transition and run, then run some more because they thrive in that slow type of game.”
QUOTABLE: “Our kids tend to play with a passion and intensity that makes it easy to root for. The fan base we’ve had all season rocks and our players feed off that energy! We’re healthy, focused, and ready to rock and roll.” - Panther Valley head coach, Pat Crampsie.
Boys District 11 Class 3A Semifinal
No. 4 Palmerton (11-11) VS. No. 1 Notre Dame Green Pond (18-6)
TIP OFF: Wednesday, February 27, at 6 p.m, at Catasauqua High School
COACHES: Palmerton - Ken Termini; Notre Dame of Green Pond - Pat Boyle
LEADING SCORERS: Palmerton - Nate Dougherty (Sr. G, 19.91 ppg), Justin Hosier (Jr., G/F, 17.91), Kody Kratzer (So., G, 11.73), Owen Buck (So. F/C, 3.50), Seth Young (Jr., G, 2.91); Notre Dame Green Pond - Filippo Baldo (14.5), Brendan Boyle (12.8), Jaden Cunningham (11.4), Zach DeFoe (8.7), Chris Omick (8.6).
GAME NOTES: This is the second season in a row that Palmerton is playing in the district playoffs, following a drought that spanned 15 years ...The last time the Bombers won a district game was back in 2000 - also the last time the boys’ team qualified for the state tournament ...The Blue Bombers began this season darting out to a 5-1 record, then lost six of their next eight, and went 4-4 the remainder of their regular season ... The Bombers have had a long layoff. They haven’t played since their final regular season outing on Feb. 7 — 20 days ago ...Notre Dame last played in the Colonial League semifinals, on Feb. 14, losing to Southern Lehigh, 64-48 ...The Crusaders and Blue Bombers met once this season, back on Jan. 10, when Notre Dame prevailed 64-49 ... The Bombers had an off night, as outside of Hosier’s 20 and Dougherty’s 12, no one else scored more than four points ... The Crusaders blazed to an eight-game win streak mid-season, and have won 11 of 13 since the new year ... Palmerton coach Ken Termini is aware of his opponents’ balanced scoring, saying, “Cunningham, DeFoe, Baldo, Boyle, Omick, and Billy Cornish can all put up double figures. Each of them have things they’re good at.” ... Notre Dame, the defending Class 3A champion, likes to speed opponents’ offenses up and force the situation, so the goals are clear for Palmerton, “We must play with poise, but be physical, protect the ball and not take too quick of shots,” Temini said.
QUOTABLE: “Nobody likes having three weeks off, but the layoff has been good for us. It almost feels like opening night because the preseason is three weeks of work. It’s a new season and we’re excited for the opportunity.” - Palmerton head coach, Ken Termini.