Busy week for Tiger girls

The Northwestern High School girls basketball team is no longer undefeated in the Heart O' North Conference after a 61-54 loss to Hayward at Maple Monday night. But the Tigers have a chance to pull back into a tie for first place in the conferenc...

The Northwestern High School girls basketball team is no longer undefeated in the Heart O' North Conference after a 61-54 loss to Hayward at Maple Monday night. But the Tigers have a chance to pull back into a tie for first place in the conference Thursday.

That's when Northwestern travels to Hayward to face the Hurricanes in a rematch.

"It was a nice win at their place, and we're going to celebrate tonight, but we have to get refocused in the next few days and be ready to play with the same intensity," said David Lee, coach of the Hurricanes.

Monday's game with Hayward was a make-up of the postponed game from Jan. 15. Thursday's rematch at Hayward begins at 7:30 p.m.

It has been a busy week for the Tigers, who also played Ashland Tuesday night in a game that went into double overtime. The Tigers won 46-45 after Cassidy Stolzman hit a pair of free throws with six seconds left. She also led NHS for the night with 12 points.


In Monday's game with Hayward the Tigers led for most of the first half and were up 35-32 in the third with three minutes left. Up to that point, Northwestern had kept the game in the half-court while getting the ball inside. The Tigers also easily broke Hayward's full-court defense and avoided traps.

"For three and a half quarters, I thought we played well enough to win," said Shawn Leith, head coach of the Tigers. "It was that little time lapse in the third quarter where we made mistakes that really cost us."

During that lapse, the Tigers turned the ball over repeatedly against the Hurricanes' press. Hayward took advantage of the opportunity with an 11-2 run to end the quarter up by six points.

"I think our pressure caught them in a little bit of a lapse and the game kind of got to the (faster) pace we wanted it to," Lee said. "We were able to get some key baskets in that stretch and make a nice run."

By the time the fourth quarter began, the Hurricanes were in complete control of the game. Just more than two minutes into the final period, NHS picked up its eighth team foul, and put Hayward in the double bonus two minutes later.

The Tigers also continued to struggle with Hayward's press, and the Hurricanes took the largest lead of the game, 55-43, with four and a half minutes left to play.

But just as Hayward changed the game with a scoring run, NHS launched a comeback.

Lindsay Taipale began the rally with a pair of free throws. Lindsay Garay kept things going with her first basket of the game from 3-point range to cut Hayward's lead to eight. A rebound and shot by Anna Morgan off of a missed free throw made it a six-point game with less then two minutes left.


The Hurricanes, meanwhile, were uncharacteristically cold from the free-throw line, making 3-of-6 while in the double bonus.

With 46 seconds left, Morgan came up with a steal and was fouled. She went to the line to shoot a one-and-one and hit both shots to make it 58-54. NHS was forced to foul as the time ticked down, and Amy McDonald and Sydney Hadley came through for the Hurricanes at the line for the 61-54 win.

"The girls did a nice job of coming back and putting themselves in a position to be in the game at the end and maybe even win it," Leith said. "It definitely showed a lot on their part."

Leading all scorers was Northwestern's Taipale with 18 points. Morgan had 12 points for the Tigers, Carinda Larson and Cassidy Stolzman had eight each, Taylor Prior added five points and Garay finished with three.

For the night, NHS was 12-for-16 from the free-throw line. The Hayward girls also did well at the line, making 21-of-31 shots.

"Northwestern is a very good team," Lee said. "They've got two good inside players that really caused some problems. We may have to do a little bit better on them on Thursday."

Leith is looking to those two players, Taipale and Morgan, to give the Tigers a boost against Hayward Thursday. They combined for 30 of the Tigers' 54 points Monday, and he said he never has to worry about the duo being mentally ready to play.

"In our conference, I'll take our two posts over any posts in the conference this year," Leith said. "I feel like we have the two best, hands down. They work well together and they play hard."


As for other preparation, Leith said the Tigers need to respect Hayward's shooting ability and contest shots more. NHS also must stay focused through all four quarters.

"Against a team like Hayward, or any of the better teams, you can't afford to have a mental breakdown or lapse where you make the turnovers like we did," Leith said. "If we control that, we'll be right in there next time."

The Tiger girls defeated Spooner 54-35 Friday at Maple in a HON Conference game. NHS led by six after one quarter and was up 27-17 at halftime. In the third quarter NHS held an 18-6 scoring edge the put the game away.

Taipale was the leading scorer for the Tigers with 22 points. Morgan also finished in double figures with 13 points. Garay had eight points, Stolzman had six, Jaclyn Amys had three and Prior added two.

What To Read Next
Get Local