It might not have looked like it on paper, but Saturday's non-league boys basketball contest between Palmerton and Tamaqua was considered a "must" game.
Palmerton interim head coach Mark Maholick and Tamaqua's Jay Daubert couldn't have agreed more.
The Bombers and Raiders were tied at halftime, tied entering the final quarter and battled through 12 lead changes.
When the dust cleared, it was Palmerton who came out on top of a 59-55 final score.
Mike Streisel hit a bucket with 1:12 remaining to give the Raiders a 53-52 lead, but Brett Snyder calmly drained a three-pointer with 38.9 seconds left to put the Bombers on top 55-53.
A pair of free throws by Ben Andrews and Mike Svetik opened up a six-point lead for the Bombers (6-5, 3-3) with 5.8 ticks on the clock and a Streisel basket in the waning seconds set the final score.
"The did shoot the lights out," said Maholick afterwards as he watched the Raiders jump out to a 19-12 lead in the first quarter. "There were some defensive lapses on our part. they were shooting over us, they were shooting covered, they had hops in their feet.
"They were definitely prepared. For two teams who played last night, there was energy in that game on both sides."
The Bombers jumped out to a 5-0 lead early, but the Raiders ran off 11 straight points and built up a 10-point advantage before Snyder hit a three at the buzzer.
Streisel had 10 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter, while Zach Lakitsky added all eight of his points for the Raiders (3-9, 0-5). Andrews had seven for the Bombers.
Andrews and Svetik combined for six apiece in the second quarter as the Bombers chipped away and tied it up at 31-31 at the half.
Jake Fegley got into the act scoring six of the nine Tamaqua points in the third quarter, while the Bombers used a little balance to keep it at 40-40 with eight minutes left.
Fegley, who had a decent game for the second night in a row, added four more in the final stanza to back up Streisel's eight, but it wasn't enough. Geist had seven of his nine points for the Bombers to aid their final push.
"We played well enough to win two games, but unfortunately we played bad enough in spurts to not get the win and lost these two games this weekend," said Daubert. "We were hoping to come out of this weekend with two wins and get this think turned around and try to get on a little mini streak here. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way. We'll have to go back at it on Monday and try and figure out how to close out a game."
Daubert was happy with his team's effort as the Raiders only turned the ball over nine times and shot 40 percent from the floor.
Fegley finished with 12 to back up Streisel and Spencer Bennett just missed doubles with nine.
The Bombers got 15 from Andrews (13 in the first half) and 14 from Svetik.
"We showed a lot of poise in pressure situations," said Maholick. "Our unselfish play shows that we''re prepared to be in those situations and our kids have a lot of confidence in each other. Any five guys who are on the floor at that moment realize they have the opportunity to take the shots they're capable of making.
"We had fouls to give when we up three inside of 20 seconds left so we wanted them to dribble and take some time of the clock and use the fouls we had left and Svetik was lucky to get a steal with the pressure and the free throws gave us a more comfortable lead.
"This was definitely one we needed for so many reasons and we all knew it."
Palmerton also picked up its second JV win of the season by a 52-37 score behind 21 points from Mike Horvath. Tanner Kehl had 11 and Tyler Krell 10 for Tamaqua.
Andrews 5-3-4-15, Tyahla 0-0-0-0, Svetik 5-3-4-14, Snyder 2-2-2-8, Leaver 2-1-1-6, Saylor 0-0-0-0, Geist 4-1-3-9, Reinhart 3-1-2-7. TOTALS: 21-11-16-59.
Bachert 1-0-0-2, Fegley 5-2-2-12, Streisel 9-3-4-22, Bennett 3-1-2-9, Lakitsky 3-0-0-8, Kurek 1-0-0-2, Ansbach 0-0-0-0, Reinhardt 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-6-8-55.
Palmerton 12 19 9 18 - 59
Tamaqua 19 12 9 15 - 55
Three-pointers: Palmerton - Andrews 2, Snyder 2, Leaver 1, Svetik 1; Tamaqua - Bennett 2, Lakitsky 2, Streisel 1.