NHS girls avenge Trojans
“You can say it, it was ugly,” admitted Northampton coach Jeff Jacksits when discussing his team’s 46-34 win over Parkland Tuesday night.
Both teams struggled to hit shots, especially early in the game, but Northampton found some semblance of offense in the second half to turn things around. The win clinched a spot in the EPC tournament for Northampton, upping its record to 17-3 overall and 11-3 in the EPC.
Northampton’s Morgan Sterner led all scorers with 20 points and Lindsay Berger led Parkland with 14. After falling to Parkland in the first meeting of the season, Northampton was looking to send a message and Sterner believes that her team did just that.
“This was a really big win especially because we lost to them last time and we wanted to prove to them that we can compete with them and we can come out on top and I think it was important to come out aggressive in the second half, because we didn’t play well in the first half,” said Sterner.
The first quarter ended in a 6-6 tie and by halftime the game was still knotted up at 17-17. Jacksits pointed out that the first time the two teams met they were tied 18-18 at the half, but Parkland had the better second half to win 37-30.
“These teams are so even and a lot of the girls know each other really well from playing together in the summer and then battling in the season, that you’re usually going to get close games,” Jacksits explained. “We made some adjustments at halftime that helped, but it still wasn’t a very well played game by either team.”
The adjustments included having Sterner be slightly less motivated to drive to the basket, which is her usual approach. With six-foot tall junior Lindsay Berger clogging up the lane, Jacksits told Sterner to pull up and start firing some short jumpers. The plan worked well.
“Lindsay Berger is really tall and can block a lot of shots, so we had to adjust a little bit because I’m used to driving more, so pulling up was a bit of an adjustment,” admitted Sterner. “The good thing is that then it opened up a little more for Grace [Lesko] and Devyn [Demchak] to get the shots underneath.”
Lesko finished with 12 points and Demchak finished with eight. The two also took over the boards combining for 21 rebounds in the game, another key for Northampton.
The Konkrete Kids have just two games left in the regular season, with the biggest coming Friday night against rival Nazareth. The Blue Eagles (17-2, 13-1) beat Northampton 51-30 in their first meeting of the season. Northampton needs a win against Nazareth to have any hope of a division championship as they currently stand two games behind the Lady Eagles with two games to play. The only other remaining game on the schedule is Monday when Northampton closes out their schedule against Central Catholic (11-8, 7-7).
With playoff spots wrapped up both in the conference and districts, Northampton is riding a nine-game winning streak and looking to make its mark in the postseason.
“We’re playing really well and we’re really close off the court and that chemistry is transferring on the court.” said Sterner. “We work together really well and pick each other up when we make mistakes.