It's been a long time since the Tamaqua Raiders boys basketball team has started a season 3-0. In fact, it's been 20 years since the Blue Raiders won three straight games to start the season.
In an absolute barn burner at Tamaqua Friday night, a young Raider bunch was able to come up with a 77-74 overtime victory over Southern Columbia to get over that 20-year hill, sitting at 3-0 for the first time since 1992.
The Raiders were able to do what they couldn't do last season, which was finish out a ball game.
"What a game like this shows me about our team is that we are certainly taking steps in the right direction," said Tamaqua coach Caszy Kosciolek. "We didn't get frazzled and we didn't panic at the end of the game when they were pressuring us.
"The most impressive thing we did though was play good defense when we had to. Overall, it wasn't a great defensive effort, but when we needed to get stops we did."
Perhaps the most impressive feat of the evening came when leading scorer Brett Kosciolek fouled with 2:30 left in overtime. Kosciolek was having a terrific game at the time, having scored 25 points, while collecting 18 rebounds.
However, the Raiders banded together and finished out the overtime session. A big reason for that was the play of Adam Frantz (18 points) and Bo Rotett (16 points). Rotett played with ice in his veins late in the game going 4-for-4 from the foul line in the overtime period to put the Raiders up by one and then hitting two more to put them up three. Frantz has also done his part so far this season averaging 15 points per game in his first year of significant varsity time.
"If someone would have asked me before the season started if we were capable of scoring 77 points in a game I would have said no way," said Kosciolek. "Bo and Adam have been great for us and it has really boosted our offensive output. Bo plays with a ton of energy and Adam has been such a pleasant surprise for us this year. Out of all the players in our program Adam has probably put the most time in this off-season and it's showing out there on the court."
The Tigers got back into the game in the fourth after trailing for the first three quarters. Southern Columbia switched to a 2-2-1 trap, which gave the Raiders fits in the second half. Tamaqua had turnover issues (28) which allowed the Tigers to close within two with about 10 seconds remaining. After a Southern Columbia timeout, the Tigers possessed the ball, shooting a jumper from the left wing. The ball glanced off the right side of the rim and into the hands of Bryce Parry, who made a spectacular play, tipping the ball in as he was falling away from the hoop, sending the game into overtime.
Tamaqua outscored the Tigers 9-6 in the overtime period to get the win.
For Southern Columbia Mike Klebon led the way with 23 points and Matt Klock helped out with 17.
Klebon 7-6-9-23, Parry 3-8-13-14, Klock 7-0-0-17, Mostik 0-1-2-1, Young 3-2-4-8, Kleman 2-0-0-4, Woods 1-0-0-2, Palacz 1-0-0-3. TOTALS: 24-17-26-74.
Rotett 3-8-8-16, Chartier 0-0-0-0, Krell 2-2-2-6, Weinert 0-2-4-2, Frantz 8-2-3-18, Wargula 1-2-4-4, Kehl 0-0-0-0, Marcin 0-0-0-0, Ty. Skripko 2-0-1-4, Kosciolek 11-0-3-25, Tr. Skripko 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 28-16-25-77.
So. Columbia 13 13 18 24 6 - 74
Tamaqua 24 12 16 16 9 - 77
Three-pointers: SC - Klebon 3, Klock 3, Palacz 1. T - Kosciolek 3, Rotett 2.