So. Lehigh routs Northwestern
Northwestern’s Sage Christopher (22) drives against Southern Lehigh’s Eli Cassel. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Northwestern Lehigh basketball coach Chris Deutsch didn’t have a nice, relaxing Valentine’s Day.
He certainly wasn’t in love with how his team performed in a 55-18 loss to Southern Lehigh in the semifinals of the Colonial League tournament.
The loss bounced the Tigers from the playoffs and sent Southern Lehigh into the championship game against Notre Dame-Green Pond.
Things got off to a rough start right from the start for Northwestern. For the second game in a row, Northwestern (20-4) was in early foul trouble and turned the ball over at an unusually high rate.
After jumping out to a 4-0 lead, trouble seemed to set in, and with 5:34 left in the first quarter, Sage Christopher picked up her second foul of the night and headed for the bench in favor of Tess Ledeboer. As a team, the Tigers had four fouls in the first three minutes. They also turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter.
The turning point for Southern Lehigh (20-3) came when Jeanne Rautureau and Olivia Snyder picked up steals on back-to-back Northwestern possessions and drove the length of the court for layups. The thievery turned a 4-4 game into an 8-4 game, and Southern Lehigh would never trail after that. Even with the rough start, Northwestern trailed by just a 10-5 score going into the second quarter.
“I thought we didn’t play that badly in the first quarter. We had some foul trouble and certainly didn’t play our best, but we were only down by five, so I wasn’t too concerned,” said Deutsch.
What Deutsch didn’t know at the end of the first quarter was that the little jumper that Snyder hit with two seconds left would start a 20-0 Spartans run that saw the Southern Lehigh defense completely take over the game in the second quarter, holding Northwestern scoreless for over 11 full minutes of game time.
“We weren’t hitting anything, now some of that was due to their defense,” said Deutsch. “They’re a very good defensive team. A lot of it though was that we just didn’t hit the open looks we had. We had 10-foot jumpers that were airballs and players who hit 80-percent from the foul line were missing a bunch of foul shots
“Credit them, but to be honest, we didn’t do our part to keep ourselves in the game.”
After finding itself down 28-5 at the break, Northwestern got a quick basket from Emily Sekerak, who was also fouled on the play and hit the free throw. Just when it looked like there may be some life, Snyder drove the lane at the other end and got the basket and the foul to seemingly burst any comeback hopes the Tigers had.
By the end of the quarter, Southern Lehigh was up by 36. The fourth quarter was a battle of the benches as Southern Lehigh just rode out the quarter to reach Saturday’s championship game.
“We just have to regroup – and I think that we will – and we have to come out and hit shots,” said Deutsch of what his team needs to do before it opens District 11 tournament play a week from Saturday. “I just told them to flush this one down the toilet,” said Deutsch of the loss to Southern Lehigh. “That’s all you can do with a game like this one.”
SPARTAN DOMINATION ... Southern Lehigh swept the three meetings between the two teams this season by a combined score of 151-82. “They just have our number, I guess,” said Deutsch. “It just goes to show that they are a really good team.”
LEADING THE WAY ... Snyder finished with 25 points for the Spartans, and Ellie Cassel added 10. Cassel also made things tough on Northwestern on the boards, pulling down 11 rebounds. Sekerak led the Tigers with seven points.
Bleam 0-0-0-0, Betz 1-0-0-2, Motolese 1-0-0-2, Lister 1-2-5-4, Jones 0-0-0-0, Ledeboer 0-0-0-0, Sevrain 0-0-0-0, Hess 0-0-0-0, Sekerak 2-3-5-7, Christopher 0-1-2-1, Dorney 0-0-0-0, Giese 1-0-1-2, Funk 0-0-0-0, TOTALS 6-6-13-18
Walter 1-0-0-2, Wilkins 2-0-0-6, Moncman 2-0-0-4, Snyder 10-5-7-25, Bennett 0-0-0-0, Rautureau 2-1-2-5, Schmitt 0-0-0-0, Rice 0-0-0-0, Cassel 3-4-6-10, Mobley 1-0-0-3, TOTALS 21-10-15-55
Northwestern 5 0 6 7 – 18
So. Lehigh 10 18 19 8 – 55
Three-pointers: NWL – none; SL – Wilkins 2, Mobley 1.