NHS girls fall to Freedom
The Northampton girls basketball team was able to erase an 8-point halftime deficit and force overtime against Freedom in their EPC quarterfinal game on Friday, but eventually fell 57-50 to the Patriots.
The K-Kids had trouble stopping the balanced Freedom offense in the first period as three different Pates scored at least five points in the quarter on the way building a 21-14 lead.
Northampton got its act together in the beginning of the second quarter. The Kids cut the margin to three points halfway through the period, but Freedom went on a one-minute scoring binge, racking up 8 straight points to push its lead to double digits. When the teams headed to their locker rooms, the Patriots led 34-26.
The tide turned in the third quarter. The Kids’ defense ramped up, holding Freedom to a single basket over the first six minutes of the second half. Morgan Sterner and Kylie Gilliard hit back-to-back threes at the end of a 12-2 stretch to give Northampton its first lead of the game at 38-36. The Pates managed to tie the game at 40-40 heading into the final period of regulation.
Freedom looked to be in control after a 9-2 run to start the quarter. The Kids fought back by forcing steals on three straight possessions to fuel an 8-0 run of their own. When Devyn Demchak got a put back off an offensive rebound with 1:55 to play, Northampton had taken a 50-49 lead.
Freedom hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie the game at the 1:47 mark. Northampton missed a shot with 1:19 left and the Patriots worked the clock for the last shot. It went wide sending the game to overtime.
Freedom hit a three-pointer right after the OT tip and it turned out that those would be the only points they would need to secure the victory. A pair of Kids’ three-point shots rimmed out early in the overtime and then they were forced to start fouling to keep the Patriots from running out the clock.
Head coach Jeff Jacksits lamented the team’s inability to play a complete game. “Whenever we can put something together, we’ll be pretty unstoppable,” Jacksits said. “But we haven’t put four (quarters) together yet. When you fight back like that it’s awfully hard to hold it because you’re going to be dead tired.”
Gilliard led the K-Kids with 15 points. Sterner, who was named a 1st team EPC all-star on Sunday, scored 14. Grace Lesko added 12. Taylor Kranzley scored 5 and Demchak had 4.
Northampton’s next game will be a District XI 6A quarterfinal game against Pocono Mountain West. The Kids beat the Panthers 50-32 on Jan. 14. The game will be on Friday, Feb. 21 at a neutral site.