‘We want to play as a team,’ Northern’s Cassidy Sadler on Polar Bear’s 54-39 win against Bermudian Springs

Bermudian Springs basketball tried to put out Cassidy Sadler’s fire.

But the agile 5-foot-7 Northern junior guard wouldn’t allow it.

The Polar Bears won 54-39 on Tuesday at the Eagles gym. Sadler scored 22 points for the girls, which extended Northern’s early season winning streak to 3-0.

“We talk about body language and playing together, and not being a one-man show,” Sadler said after the game. “We want to play as a team, have our teammates succeed, and not have one person running everything. That’s what’s going to take us to the end.”

Sadler was first on the board with a 3 that she scored 30 seconds into the game. She showed her depth also in the second, when she scored two more 3s. Pushing herself early on in the season is going to create good habits as teams, and individuals, start to rise later on, she said.  

“A lot of the teams we go against have way more experience,” Sadler said. “We are a young team.”

Northern’s starting five doesn’t include any seniors. And, while Sadler was successful leading the way, she said she’d like to see more of her teammates utilized in the paint. Those improvements are in the works, she said.

“I think it was a really good game,” Sadler said. “There’s a lot to work on. We’ll get to that in the season.”

She and Anna Lehman put up 12 points in the first quarter. Both stealing, blocking, and rebounding the way to the team’s widest brief lead of 12-7 with one minute on the clock.

The Eagles’ Amelia Peters and Victoria Bross each dropped a 3 in the first to hang with Sadler’s scoring. And Bross had a timely steal with 30 seconds remaining that cut Northern’s lead to one.

At the end of one, it was 12-11 favoring Northern.

The score stayed tight for another 90 seconds in the second. Bross put up a bucket at 6:24 but then neither team could find a run for the next two minutes and 24 seconds.

Berm showed its ability to pass, pass, pass, square up, and shoot, which momentarily tied up the game 18-18. Hannah Metzger’s only basket in the second was a 3.

Northern’s height and aggressiveness then took over. The Polar Bears went on a run scoring 12 before the Eagles scored two. The halftime score was 30-21.

When the Eagles returned to the court, they looked to try to stop Sadler. In their efforts, they continued to foul and put her on the line.

“With being face guarded, I think I contributed pretty well at the foul line,” Sadler said. “That’s where I really held my own on the court.”

Northern’s defense grew stronger throughout the game. The score was 40-27 Polar Bears at the end of three.

“I think we want to be No. 1 and I think that’s what we’re going to work toward,” Sadler said.

Stopping quick transitions and preventing easy layups were two of the team’s goals, said newly installed Northern head coach Luke Zampelli.

“We try to go one possession, and then switch up defensive strategy every now and then if we can,” he said. “It depends on who we’re playing. We’re trying some new things and building on the same things that they had been working on.”

Out of the three games, Northern played a more balanced game against Bermudian. The girls first two games, they played more defense than offense. In their game against the Eagles, there were stretches, up to two minutes, that neither team scored. Zampelli said he’s fine with that.

“We set some long-term season goals at the beginning of the year,” he said. “Defensive goals, keeping the other team under 40 points. That’s going to be tough. We play some really good teams. But we expect we’ll be in the hunt in the end. We want to slow the game and run when we can, but kinda hold teams out of their comfort zone. We’re comfortable scoring 30s and 40s every game. We think our defense can hold teams to that.”

Working the ball to find the open shot is always going to be part of Lehman’s strategy, she said.

“There were some ups and downs,” she said of the game. “But we definitely stayed strong until the end. And finished it out. I think as a team we are finding that one more pass, one more to that open shot or open three. And, individually, I think I did well defensively tracking down girls.”

Offensive rebounding is an area where she’d like to see Northern improve, so the Polar Bears can compete against more experienced teams, the sophomore said.

Bermudian, which plays in District 3 Class 4A, is 1-2 on the season. Northern is in Pennsylvania’s District 3 Class 5A.

The Eagles graduated several seniors in 2022.

“We’re playing one senior, two to three juniors, and sophomores,” Bermudian Springs head coach Todd Askins said. “The girls fight hard. We need to take what we learn in practice and put it in the game. That’s the hard part. I think our big thing is we need to box out. We’re running down the court and watching shots going up…We’ve got some small guards, so when we get caught in traps, they can pass out of it. Defensively, we’ve got to stop the middle drives. They were able to drive the middle tonight. They’re aggressive. Northern played really well. Sadler shot lights out in the first half. We had to shut her down in the second half. We just have to play better.”

Northern: 54

Sadler, 22; Hannah Freese, 9; Lehman, 8; Addison Place, 6; Siena Ondecko, 5; Kendal Ewer, 2; Liz Montgomery, 2

Bermudian Springs: 39

Bross, 13; Amelia Peters, 8; Lucy Peters, 8; Metzger, 6; Ella Benzel, 3; Lily Carlson, 1

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