Girls’ Basketball Mid-Season Update

EP2By Tyler Trumbauer

Northwestern- Northwestern girls’ basketball had a fantastic regular season last year, but left the postseason with no hardware to show for it. This year they are looking to collect the titles. The Lady Tigers are 6-0 in the Colonial League and 10-0 overall as of Jan. 8. This squad is young, but extremely talented. They don’t have much height either, but they are getting the job done. “I don’t want us to be playing our best basketball right now,” admitted head coach Chris Deutsch. “I don’t want us to peak early. You want to be playing your best when it really counts at the end of the year and in the playoffs.” This team is looking to avenge their loss to Southern Lehigh in the league title game last year and their early departure from districts. So far, they are doing just that as they are one win away from qualifying for the district playoffs. This squad is the top team in the league and one of the best in the district and should remain in those spots as they are poised cruise deep into postseason play. Palmerton- The Lady Blue Bombers are going in a new direction this winter and that is due in large part to first-year head coach, Rodney Strohl. Strohl has guided this team to a surprising 7-2 start, with a 3-2 record in the league through Jan. 8. This is a very quick squad that also shoots well, but they don’t have size and that is a problem in basketball. “One weakness our team needs to work on is rebounding the basketball,” admitted Strohl. “Since we are a small team, we need to do a better job at this so we can run and [go on a] fast break which will help us get points on the scoreboard.” Seven wins overall for Palmerton through nine games leaves an easy path to qualifying for districts as they only need four more wins overall. However, Strohl wants to compete for the league title as well. A blowout loss to North Division leading Northwestern shows there is work to be done, but it is a safe bet that Palmerton will be participating in the postseason. Northern Lehigh- It has been rough for the Lady Bulldogs. Coming off a 2012-13 campaign where they went 2-20, there weren’t many high hopes for this winter. They are returning a few seniors who have a lot of varsity experience, but the lack of offensive production has plagued them. The team averages about 21 points per game and scored only 15 twice. That has translated in to a 1-5 record in the CL and a 1-9 record overall through Jan. 8. Second-year head coach, Anthony Thomas, is hoping this year will pay dividends for the future. “[I want] continued hard work and improvement along with continued building of the foundation for the future teams of Northern Lehigh,” he said. Northern Lehigh’s lone win was a 26-25 defeat of Catasauqua, who is winless so far. Surpassing last year’s win total would be a positive for the Lady Bulldogs. The rest of this season is just about improving individually and hoping for better luck next year. Parkland- Last season ended with Parkland vying for a league and district title, coming up short on both accounts. This winter is headed in the same direction early on as the Lady Trojans boasted a 2-1 record in the Lehigh Valley Conference and a 4-3 record overall as of Jan. 8. Due to the winter weather, Parkland has a lot of games to make up, but so does nearly every team, and according to head coach, Wes Spence, they have a lot to work on too. “We need to improve. Offensively we need to take care of the ball and execute better in the half court and defensively we can continue to work hard to communicate better and improve our team defense,” he said. Parkland is a talented team, but is young as well. Couple that with the fact that they are competing in a fierce LVC which includes defending champion Nazareth, Bethlehem Catholic, and Central Catholic, shows that it won’t be a cake walk for Parkland into the postseason. They most likely will need to defeat at least two of those three top teams to work their way into the league playoffs. Lehighton- The Lady Indians are right in the thick of things thus far. Led by first year head coach, Eric Gidney, Lehighton possessed a 2-2 record in the Mountain Valley Conference and a 3-5 mark overall through January 8. This team has already shown vast improvement from last season both in their play and in the standings, but they still haven’t mastered closing out a contest. “[My] biggest concern would be learning [how] to win close games,” said Gidney. “The team hasn’t won much in previous seasons, so right now we are inconsistent with ‘finishing’ games. All three wins were close, but we need to consistently be able to win these close ones.” Lehighton has shown their improvement early on, but as they enter the meat of their league schedule with big contests against Pleasant Valley and Pocono Mountain West on the horizon, these girls will shows us all if they are contenders or pretenders for the postseason. Northampton- Northampton girls’ basketball usually produces a team that does some damage in the Lehigh Valley and this year is no different. Through Jan. 8 the K-Kids were 1-1 in the LVC and 4-3 overall. Head coach Jeff Jacksits is happy with his team, but knows the road ahead isn’t easy. “I'm pleased with our team chemistry,” he said in an email. “We have good senior leadership and the girls are starting to realize their roles […] we are heading into a tough section of our schedule where we will be playing seven games in 12 days.” That tenacious stretch includes contests against quality opponents in Parkland and Bethlehem Catholic who have 13 wins combined already. Senior guard Leandra Sterner will bring the experience that is needed to come out with a winning record from these next 12 days, because if they do, the K-Kids will be talking about the playoffs.

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