Nick Schlitzer became Pottsville's all-time basketball scoring king this week, surpassing 1,500 points for his career.
The 6-4 senior, who is headed to Philadelphia University, is averaging close to 22 points per game this season, but he is far from the Crimson Tide's only offensive option.
Taking advantage of the defensive attention Tamaqua paid to Schlizter, senior guard Bobby Schappell poured in 23 points as Pottsville doubled up on the host Blue Raiders 60-30 Friday night in a Schuylkill Division I contest.
The defending Schuylkill League champion Tide (10-1 overall, 4-0 league) found an open Schappell on the perimeter, and he connected on 7-of-13 shots from three-point land to spark the attack.
Meanwhile, Pottsville's aggressive man defense took its toll on Tamaqua (3-7, 0-4), holding the Raiders to single digits in the final three quarters, forcing 21 turnovers and a 13 of 37 shooting performance (35 percent).
The Tide's physical play was also apparent on the boards, where it held a commanding 37-17 rebounding advantage, including 16-5 off the offensive glass.
As for Schlitzer, he finished with 11 points, joining Schappell and Casey Guers (10 points) to demonstrate the Tide's balance.
"Nick is an unselfish player who is so willing to do what it takes to win," said Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney. "Bobby's a good shooter, and it was nice to see him play a big part in our win tonight."
Tamaqua kept it close during the first quarter, with its motion offense producing some back door buckets. Seniors Zach Lakitsky and Mike Streisel hit triples as the Raiders trailed 15-14.
"We felt their aggressiveness could help us offensively, and we were looking to back cut to get open," said Tamaqua coach Jay Daubert.
Pottsville responded by running off 12 straight points, with Schappell connecting on two treys and Guers scoring inside twice, to open up a 27-14 lead.
Junior guard Jake Fegley scored on a drive to break the drought, but that would be the Raiders' lone bucket of the second stanza. The Tide ran off the last seven points, on a Schappell triple and breakaway hoop and a Schlitzer steal, to make it 34-16 at half.
"We said coming in we awanted to let someone else beat us besides Schlitzer, and we did a nice job on him, but unfortunately, Schappell was open and he hit his shots," said Daubert. "We had a bad second quarter, and that's been the story for us the last few games."
Tamaqua cut the deficit to 15 at 38-23 on Streisel's jumper at the four minute mark of the third quarter, but the Tide reeled off the last 11 points of the period to break it open again at 49-23.
"I was disappointed with our defensive intensity in the first quarter, but over the last three we played the way we need to play to be successful," noted Mullaney.
Lakitsky's eight points topped Tamaqua while Streisel tallied seven.
Pottsville made it a sweep with a 65-13 JV win.
Schappell 8-0-0-23, Witman 0-0-0-0, Heffner 0-1-2-1, Korrubin 0-0-0-0, Coyle 0-0-0-0, Guers 5-0-0-10, Bridy 3-0-0-7, Tobin 2-0-0-4, Thomas 0-1-2-1, Schlitzer 5-1-2-11, Wile 1-1-1-3. TOTALS: 24-4-7-60.
Krell 0-0-0-0, Bachert 0-0-0-0, Fegley 1-0-0-2, Streisel 3-0-0-7, Bennett 3-0-0-6, Lakitsky 3-0-0-8, Rudy 0-1-2-1, Kurek 1-0-0-2, Ansbach 0-0-0-0, Reinhardt 2-0-0-4. TOTALS: 13-1-2-30.
Pottsville 18 16 15 11 - 60
Tamaqua 14 2 7 7 - 30
Three-point goals: P-Schappell 7, Bridy 1; T-Lakitsky 2, Streisel 1.