Tamaqua coach Jay Daubert felt his team's ability to play trapping zone defense would be a strength this season.
Against visiting Weatherly, the Blue Raiders' defense succeeded beyond Daubert's wildest expectations.
The ball-hawking Raiders clamped down on the Wreckers, holding them to single digits in three quarters and scoreless in the third period.
The Raider offense then found the range in the second half, resulting in a 58-14 season-opening rout of the Wreckers on Stadium Hill Friday night.
Tamaqua limited Weatherly to a frigid 4-for-33 shooting performance (12 percent), holding the Wreckers without a field goal for 20:37 at one point.
The Wreckers committed 29 turnovers, with 14 of them coming off of Raider steals, as Mike Streisel and Jake Fegley each had five thefts.
"We did a great job defensively tonight," said Daubert. "Our kids played hard and aggressively. We were in the right spots, we got a lot of deflections and came up with loose balls.
"This was a bit of what we talked about before the season, about creating our own luck out there. A win is a win, and we're thrilled with it."
Streisel, a 6-2 senior, is one of two returning Tamaqua starters. He poured in 14 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, as he actually ended up surpassing the Wrecker point total for the evening by himself. He also pulled down eight rebounds.
"Mike has the ability to take over offensively," mentioned Daubert. "When he makes up his mind to go to the basket, he's a tough kid to stop."
The other returning starter, point guard Spencer Bennett, chipped in with 11 points and assisted on a number of Streisel buckets, including a couple off of inbounds passes under the basket.
The first half was a slugfest. The Wreckers led 7-4 on a Cory Rowan triple with 2:58 left in the first quarter, but that would be their last bucket until Kyle Harris scored inside with 6:21 left in the game.
Tamaqua ended the frame on a 6-1 run, with two hoops from Fegley and one by Streisel, to take a 10-8 lead.
Bennett scored the only two buckets of the second quarter as the Raiders were on top 14-10 at the half.
The Raiders reeled off the first 16 points of the second half, blanking the Wreckers 14-0 in the third stanza, to take command at 30-10. Streisel and Bennett each had four points in the run, and Zach Lakitsky connected on a triple.
With a comfortable lead, the Raiders got hot in the fourth quarter, exploding for 30 points on sizzling 14 of 15 shooting to pull away.
Senior George Wallish had six points and nine rebounds for the Wreckers, who are in a definite rebuilding mode this season.
"We knew we were going to be a work in progress," said Weatherly Coach Ron Cann. "We have seniors, but they don't have a lot of experience. You can't shoot 4-for-33 and stay in the game. I'm just happy that they didn't give up."
Weatherly gained a split with a 33-28 win in the JV game. Josh Reiner's nine points led the Wreckers, while Tyler Krell topped Tamaqua with eight points.
Rowan 1-1-2-4, Coll 0-0-0-0, Weichman 0-0-0-0, Ormiston 0-0-0-0, Stallone 0-0-0-0, C. Wallish 0-0-0-0, Hollrigl 1-0-0-2, Reiner 0-0-0-0, Haganey 0-0-2-0, Walton 0-0-0-0, G. Wallish 1-4-8-6, Palermo 0-0-0-0, Harris 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 4-5-12-14.
Krell 0-0-0-0, Bachert 1-0-0-2, Fegley 3-0-0-6, Streisel 9-0-0-18, Bennett 5-0-0-11, Lakitsky 1-2-2-5, Rudy 1-0-0-2, Kurek 1-0-0-2, Ansbach 2-0-0-5, Reinhardt 3-1-4-7. TOTALS: 26-3-6-58.
Weatherly 8 2 0 4 - 14
Tamaqua 10 4 14 30 - 58
Three point goals: W-Rowan; T-Bennett, Lakitsky, Ansbach.