Entering their initial games of the season, both Ron Cann of Weatherly and Caszy Kosciolek of Tamaqua had concerns with their squads. Youth, untested players and potential for sloppiness were all on the list of possible worries for the two teams and with plenty of solid reasoning.
But the Blue Raiders showed few signs of any problems as they rolled to a 56-27 non-league victory.
"In the pre-season, we had been preaching defense to the guys," Kosciolek said. "With this being a whole new group of players for us on the floor, we were a little unsure of what to expect. But this win is huge because it's always nice to start the season off with a win."
Meanwhile, Cann saw some of his concerns come to fruition.
"We're young and we're a work in progress right now," he stated. "But give Tamaqua credit because they took us out of any kind of offense we intended to run tonight. Their defense came through."
The Blue Raiders utilized man-to-man half court pressure that led to plenty of turnovers by the hosts and plenty of fast break opportunities for the winners. Weatherly committed 22 miscues and it proved to be the difference.
"We wanted to bring it defensively and then the offense would follow," Kosciolek stressed. "I definitely liked our grittiness on that side of the ball. We ran a lot of different defensive sets and we executed well."
After a slow start for both teams, the points started to drop as Tamaqua took a 13-5 edge after one session. Brett Kosciolek got the winners off to that good start with five points in that frame.
An 11-0 run by the Raiders early in the second quarter ballooned the lead to 26-7 with just over three minutes remaining in the half.
Brett Stallone's five points in the final minute of the half got the Wreckers back to 29-14 at the break.
Tamaqua continue to control play in the third quarter, increasing its lead to 44-22. Five more points by Kosciolek and four by teammate Adam Frantz led the Raiders.
In the final frame, both coaches went to the bench with Tamaqua once again holding the scoring edge.
"We started out the fourth quarter with the three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior and they got a taste of what it's like to be out there," Cann said. "We're definitely not going to dwell on the negatives of this one. We're focusing on the positives and I think we'll be alright as the season goes along."
Tamaqua was led offensively by a trio of double-figure scorers as Jake Fegley poured in 14, Kosciolek addied 12 and Matt Kurek chipped in 10.
"I hope we continue to get that senior leadership," Kosciolek quipped. "We had thirteen people rotating in throughout the game and they were sharing the ball, which is nice. We're trying to get them to understand the beauty of the simple pass."
Weatherly, meanwhile, was led in scoring by Stallone with seven points.
In the JV contest, Tamaqua posted a 58-32 win. Zach Wargula led the Raiders with 12 points. Charlie Wallish had 11 for Weatherly.
Nunemacher 1-0-0-3, Wargula 2-0-0-5, Fegley 7-0-0-14, B. Rottet 1-0-0-2, Frantz 3-0-0-6, Kosciolek 4-3-3-12, Kurek 5-0-0-10, Ty. Skripko 0-0-2-0, Rottet 0-0-0-0, Krell 1-0-0-2, Tr. Skripko 0-0-0-0, Hartung 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 25-3-5-56.
Coll 2-0-0-4, Sipler 0-0-0-0, L. Reiner 2-0-0-4, Stallone 3-0-0-7, J. Reiner 2-0-0-5, Walton 1-0-2-2, Wallish 2-1-3-5. TOTALS: 12-1-5-27.
Tamaqua 13 16 15 12 - 56
Weatherly 5 9 8 5 - 27
Three pointers: T - Nunemacher, Wargula, Kosciolek; W - Stallone, J. Reiner.