N’western falls to LC
LANCASTER — The five seniors on the Northwestern basketball team have been playing together for a long time.
Ideally, their run would have ended with a state championship or at least a deep run into the PIAA tournament. Instead, their time together came to an end with a 63-46 loss to Lancaster Catholic in the opening round of the PIAA Class 4A State Tournament.
While the game may have gotten out of hand in the second half, there was no quit in the Tigers (13-13). Trailing by as many as 29 points, Northwestern kept playing and cut the lead to 15 when Deven Bollinger was fouled while hitting a driving layup and then converted the foul shot with 3:43 left to play.
“I told them I was proud of them,” said coach Billy Hallman. “They didn’t quit tonight and they kept working and cut the lead down to 15 late in the game. That’s what this team has been all about all season. They just don’t quit and they can be proud of that.”
Devin Thomas put on a show with a game-high 21 points, including 10 in the Tigers fourth quarter comeback. Fellow senior Sam Seyfried hit two three-pointers on his way to 16 points on the night. For Lancaster Catholic (17-10), Dwayne Caine scored 16 points with Johnny Besecker picking up 13 and David Kamwanga 11.
Things got pretty bumpy early for Northwestern when Bollinger got into quick foul trouble, picking up two fouls in the first quarter and then adding a third in the second quarter. Even with Bollinger missing minutes while sitting on the bench, Northwestern continued to battle.
Northwestern kept cutting into the lead and tied the game on a nifty move by Thomas to drive around a Lancaster Catholic player under the basket and deposit his shot to make it an 11-11 game with 3:05 left in the first quarter. The Crusaders worked their way back to a four-point lead, but the Tigers again prowled back to tie it on another Thomas shot from under the basket, making it 15-15.
“We were playing well early in the game even though we weren’t getting some shots to fall and they were really containing Sam [Yadush],” said Hallman. “We just kept working hard.”
The second quarter saw Northwestern lose Yadush with 3:19 left to play when he went down with an ankle injury. Yadush returned for the third quarter and in addition to struggling with a sore ankle, also had his wrist heavily taped.
“We were already struggling to hold it together with Deven in foul trouble and when Sam went down, that really hurt us. We were OK defensively, but offensively, our energy changed completely,” Hallman said.
The Crusaders took command with a 17-0 run to open the third quarter.
Despite the loss, Hallman was satisfied with how his team played throughout the season.
“There were a number of times when everybody counted us out and we just kept coming back. We never lost hope for a second,” he said.
LOOKING BACK … The five seniors — Seyfried, Yadush, Colten Hagadus, Thomas and Derek Holmes — were the first group of players that Hallman had since they were freshmen. In fact, he’s known this group since they played together as fourth graders. “They’ve been a great group and they always worked hard and kept pushing each other,” Hallman said.
Hebelka 0-0-0-0, Seyfried 7-0-0-16, Yadush 1-0-0-2, Holmes 0-0-0-0, Hagadus 0-0-0-0, Bollinger 2-1-1-5, McCann 0-0-0-0, Henry 0-0-0-0, Snyder 1-0-0-2, Thomas 9-2-3-21, Holmes 0-0-0-0, Stitzel 0-0-0-0, TOTALS 20-3-4-46
Santiago 0-0-0-0, Kamwanga 5-1-2-11, Besecker 4-3-4-13, Card 0-0-0-0, Titus 1-0-1-2, Caine 5-4-4-16, Conway 0-1-2-1, Roman 0-0-0-0, Baker 2-0-0-4, Atkinson 3-1-2-8, Wells 3-0-0-6, Moore 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 24-10-15-63
Northwestern 13 9 3 21 – 46
Lancaster Cath. 15 19 17 12 - 63
Three-pointers: NW – Seyfried 2, Thomas 1; LC – Besecker 2, Caine 2, Atkinson 1