Tigers roll into CL semifinals
Ali Lister of Northwestern splits a pair of Moravian Academy defenders. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Saturday night’s Colonial League quarterfinal game between Moravian Academy and Northwestern Lehigh was a game of runs early.
Then the Tigers ran away.
Northwestern rolled to a 61-29 win to advance to league semifinals against Southern Lehigh.
The Tigers moved out to a 17-0 start, and it took until there were just :24 left in the first quarter for Moravian Academy to get its first basket. Nobody knew it at the time, but that basket started a 13-0 run that saw the Lions cut the lead down to just four when Tori Spugnardi hit a layup to make it 17-13 with 2:51 left in the first half.
At that point, the momentum swung back to the Tigers, who scored the next five points and eventually carried a 22-15 lead into the break.
“We got a little sloppy in the second quarter,” said coach Chris Deutsch. “I thought we played well in the first quarter, sloppy in the second and then picked it up in the second half.
“(Quinn) O’Connor made some plays and (Grace) Moser hit some shots, so give them credit. We found a way to move on, and that’s what it’s all about at this point.”
Northwestern (20-3), the third seed in the league playoffs, used the hot hand of Sydney Sevrain to mount a 15-0 run that saw Sevrain drain nine points during a stretch of just over four-minutes from midway through the third quarter into the first minute of the fourth quarter. The rally was highlighted by a Sevrain three-pointer and Alex Lister’s steal of the inbounds pass for a quick two-pointer. By that point, Northwestern led 44-22.
“We always get it to whoever has the best shot to hit, that’s how we work,” said Sevrain, who finished with a game-high 18 points.
The game featured a total of 49 turnovers – 31 of which were by Moravian Academy - with the Lions turning the ball over eight times by midway through the first quarter. Moravian Academy, playing without Maya Ettle, their 6-4 center, had no answer for the size of the Northwestern team.
The Tigers found themselves getting into foul trouble and having to go to their bench earlier in the game than they would have liked. The upside to the strategy was that Deutsch got quality minutes out of younger players as he rested starters. Emily Sekerak finished with four fouls, while Sevrain, Lister and Sage Christopher all had three by the end of the night.
“What I thought was a key to the win was the girls coming off of the bench. You have Kate Betz, Tess Ledeboer, Maggie Motolese. We needed minutes because our girls were in foul trouble, and those girls did a good job maintaining the lead and I thought that was huge,” said Deutsch.
The win sets up the third meeting of the season with Southern Lehigh (19-3), who came into the Colonial League playoffs as the second seed. The Spartans beat Northwestern in the two previous meetings, winning the two games by a total of 31 points.
OUCH! ... While Moravian Academy (12-11) was without Ettle, Northwestern’s Kailyn Jones missed most of the game after aggravating a sore knee. She was limping noticeably during warm-ups for the second half and could be out for the game against Southern Lehigh on Tuesday at Catasauqua High School. Jones is averaging four points per game for Northwestern, but is credited with being one of the tougher defensive players on the team.
ELSEWHERE ... The other Colonial League quarterfinal game saw Bangor (15-5) down Wilson 44-37. The Slaters will now face Notre Dame of Green Pond (20-2) Tuesday night in the semis. Southern Lehigh and Bangor had byes through the quarterfinals.
Moser 3-0-0-8, M. Falzone 1-4-4-6, Kruklitis 0-0-0-0, Wreaks 0-0-0-0, Miller 0-0-0-0, Hornik 0-0-0-0, Busch 0-0-0-0, H. Falzone 0-1-2-1, Spugnardi 0-2-2-2, Stitel 1-0-0-2, O’Connor 1-8-10-10. TOTALS: 6-15-18-29.
Bleam 0-0-0-0, Betz 1-0-0-3, Motolese 0-0-0-0, Lister 5-0-0-10, Jones 0-0-0-0, Ledeboer 0-0-0-0, Sevrain 6-4-4-18, Hess 1-0-0-2, Sekerak 3-5-6-11, Christopher 5-4-5-14, Dorney 1-0-0-2, Giese 0-1-2-1, Funk 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-14-17-61.
Moravian Ac. 2 13 7 7 - 29
N’western 17 5 15 24 - 61
Three-pointers: Moravian Academy - Moser 2; Northwestern - Severain 2, Betz 1.