ENOLA >> A little good news-bad news scenario for the Northeastern girls' basketball team.
First the good: the goal of reaching the PIAA tournament is still within their grasp.
Then the bad: they'll have to do it through the consolation bracket.
Thanks to a scorching shooting performance and a defense that held the Bobcats scoreless in the second quarter, West Perry dispatched Northeastern, 53-27, at East Pennsboro High School on Sunday afternoon in the District 3 Class AAA tournament.
The defending champion Mustangs will take on Conrad Weiser in the semifinals on Wednesday. Northeastern will face No. 2 Berks Catholic at Milton Hershey on Tuesday night. A win there would assure Bill Novak's squad of its first ever PIAA state playoff berth.
"They shot the ball well," said Novak, who earlier in the week said he would step down as Northeastern's head coach following the season. "We wanted to slow it down a little bit in the beginning on the defensive end and speed it up on the offensive end and we just didn't make shots.
"We had chances to make shots in the first quarter and second quarter, didn't, then we had to take chances when we got to the third and then it's either feast or famine at that point."
West Perry hit eight 3-pointers in the contest, including six from guard Caitlyn Lavenberg. Yet it was the team's defense following the first quarter that took over, holding Northeastern without a point for nearly a 10-minute span.
"It's frustrating when that happens and it's going to happen in games. Like I said, they're a good team. They're the defending champs for a reason," Novak said.
West Perry held the Bobcats to just 10-of-38 shooting and held the rebounding edge, 32-18. In fact, the Mustangs' Lavenberg and 6-foot-3 center Grace Stauffer combined to out-do Northeastern on the glass by an 19-18 tally.
While Novak wanted to limit Stauffer compared to an early-season meeting between the two teams over the Christmas holiday, the sophomore still was a factor. She scored six points, and eventually popped out to the top of the key to dish the ball inside during the second half.
"What we wanted to do was make Grace work a little (harder) than we did back at Christmas time," Novak said. "I thought we did a nice job of that in the beginning of the game and we wanted to make them take outside shots, we didn't want them to get little dump downs like they were getting in the second half. The problem is, we didn't close out on their shooters like we should have. We needed to be a step faster. And then we need to finish on the other end."
Northeastern was able to trim the lead to 11 at the start of the third on a Jordyn Kloster bucket, but wouldn't draw closer. West Perry responded with two more Lavenberg treys in the quarter, pushing the lead to 20 going into the fourth.
Kloster led the Bobcats with 11, while Lauren Pace added nine, all coming in the first quarter.
WEST PERRY 53, NORTHEASTERN 27
Kloster 4 3-5 11, Hauck 1 1-3 3, A. Meyer 1 0-0 2, Schroter 1 0-0 2, Pace 3 0-0 9.
Totals — 10 4-8 27
WEST PERRY (53)
Stauffer 3 0-1 6, Lavenberg 7 0-0 20, M. Urich 7 1-1 17, Brown 1 2-2 4, Cless 1 0-0 2,Brown 1 2-2 4.
Totals — 20 5-6 53
3-point goals — Pace (3), Lavenberg (6), M. Urich (2).
Fouled out – none