Wreckers, Bombers, Tigers in semis
Northern Lehigh’s Lauren Hoffman (13) and Palmerton’s Kayla Nothstein (44) battle for a rebound. MIKE FEIFEL/TIMES NEWS
The Weatherly girls, the Palmerton girls, and the Northwestern boys will all be in District 11 semifinal round action tonight.
Girls Class 1A Semifinals
No. 2 Weatherly (15-7)
vs. No. 3 Nativity (10-12)
TIP-OFF – Tuesday, Feb. 26th at Martz Hall, 6 p.m.
COACHES – Weatherly: Kevin Kringe; Nativity: Scott Forney.
LEADING SCORERS – Weatherly: Emily Zoscin (18.1 ppg), Megan Peifer (11.0), Lindsay Hoffman (8.9), Abby Hernandez (6.0); Nativity: Samantha Heenan (11.7), Kaitlyn Zemantavski (7.6), Allison Clarke (6.5), Tori Hunyara (4.8), Elizabeth Stavinski (4.4).
GAME NOTES – Winner of this matchup moves on to face the winner of the No. 1 seed Susquehanna Community and No. 4 seed Salem Christian Academy … The Wreckers are looking to defend last year’s District 11 title — which was just the second in school history … The Wreckers have qualified for the district playoffs for a fourth-straight year … It will be the third consecutive year that the Wreckers and Golden Girls will face one another in districts. Last year, the Wreckers beat Nativity in the district final, while the Golden Girls knocked off the Wreckers in the quarterfinals back in 2016 … The Schuylkill League Division 3 members are very familiar with each other, having played twice during the regular season. The Wreckers had the upper hand, earning a 56-42 win in December, and then recording a 60-49 win last month. Emily Zoscin led the Wreckers in the first win with a 27-point performance, while Megan Peifer led the way in the second victory over the Golden Girls … Kringe expects to stick to what the Wreckers do best — “attack” and “keep the pace quick.”
QUOTABLE – “They know us well. We know them very well. There’s not going to be too many surprises that anyone’s going to see. Every time we have beat them, it’s a big win because they have such a nice tradition going there. That’s what we’re trying to establish here at Weatherly. We’re trying to be like them. We’re trying to be like Marian. We’re trying to get our run going.” - Weatherly head coach Kevin Kringe.
Girls Class 3A Semifinals
No. 3 Palmerton (10-12) vs
No. 2 North Schuylkill (9-13)
TIP OFF - Tuesday, February 26, at 7:30 pm, at Pottsville’s Martz Hall
COACHES - Palmerton - Dan Beck; North Schuylkill - Richard Wetzel
LEADING SCORERS - Palmerton - Brianna Moore (14.8 ppg), Kayla Cincilla (9.0), Baylee Guedes (8.6), Raegan Nemeth (5.7), Casi Papay (5.3); North Schuylkill - Sarah Wagner (13.7, 15 threes), Mya Wetzel (11.7, 47 threes), Kaitlyn Himes (7.7g, 31 triples), Emma Green (6.4), and Joslin Stitzer (5.4).
GAME NOTES - This is the second year in a row the Bombers are making an appearance in the District 11 playoffs ... The winner of the game will play for a district championship and also earn a berth in the PIAA state tournament. The last time the Palmerton girls made it to states was during their deep run in 1997 — 22 years ago ... The two teams haven’t met this season, but have played several common opponents. The Bombers, out of the Colonial League, and the Spartans, out of the Schuylkill League, have both played Lehighton, Jim Thorpe and Panther Valley. Against Lehighton, the Spartans won both times, while Palmerton split two games against the Tribe. Undefeated Jim Thorpe handled both teams effectively, dealing both the Bombers and Spartans losses. North Schuylkill defeated the Panthers handily in two outings, while the Bombers dropped a 47-42 decision to PV ... North Schuylkill started out the season winning six of their first 10 games, before going 3-9 the remainder of the year. Meanwhile, Palmerton finished its regular season winning four of their final six games to qualify for the playoffs ... Palmerton head coach Dan Beck is concerned with the Spartans’ dynamic duo of sophomores Mya Wetzel and Sarah Wagner, as both players look to the outside shot and can put up points ...The Spartans will play both both man and zone defenses, and will look to trap and pressure out of both.
QUOTABLE - “They are aggressive and like to trap when playing their zone. We both have a wealth of youth in our lineups, and we feel we can be successful against them. Our girls are excited to play in this atmosphere, and we hope to continue the tradition at Palmerton to be competitive. I feel the team that takes care of the ball and avoids the turnovers will win this game.” - Palmerton head coach, Dan Beck.
Boys Class 4A Semifinals
No. 6 Northwestern (13-10) vs. No. 2 Allentown Central Catholic (16-8)
TIP-OFF – Tuesday, Feb. 26th at Whitehall High School, 6 p.m.
COACHES – Northwestern: Billy Hallman; Allentown Central Catholic: Dennis Csensits.
LEADING SCORERS – Northwestern: Samuel Yadush (14.5 ppg), Devin Thomas (13.6), Deven Bollinger (9.9), Sean McCann (5.6), Samuel Seyfried (5.4); Allentown Central Catholic: Jayleen Green (11.4, Nick Filchner (9.6), Chad Kratzer (7.9).
GAME NOTES – Northwestern earned its first District 11 playoff win since 2008 with a memorable comeback win over Tamaqua in the quarterfinals … With four teams qualifying for the state tournament in this class, both the Tigers and Vikings have already clinched berths in the next round. It’s the first time since 1998 that the Tigers qualified for the PIAA State playoffs … Hallman reached out to members of that 1998 State qualifying team to speak to his players before their last game. Mike Kistler spoke to the team, and Hallman followed that by reading a letter written by Josh Perich, who was also a member of that squad, but couldn’t make the game at Martz Hall. At halftime, Hallman asked Nakia Armstrong, a close friend and a retired Chief in the Navy, to speak to the Tigers. The Tigers fed off the motivational words and ran with it. “They took it to heart, Hallman said. “You could see it in their eyes they weren’t going let that one slip through their fingers.” … Allentown Central Catholic earned its spot in the semifinals with a 69-36 win over Jim Thorpe. Chad Kratzer led the Vikings with 20 points in that game … Kratzer was named an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Second Team All-Star … The Vikings won eight of their last 10 games this season. One of those losses was in the opening round of the EPC playoffs to Emmaus … The Tigers have won six of their last eight games, and are on a current five-game winning streak.
QUOTABLE - “They got a lot of tradition over there. So, we’re excited for the chance to play them. It’s going to be a tough match-up for us. They’re athletic. They have a lot of guards. Their ‘bigs’ our young, but they have gained a lot of experience this year playing in the EPC, and they have gotten pretty good. So, it’s going to be a battle,” - Northwestern head coach Billy Hallman.