NORTHAMPTON Fortunately for Tamaqua's opponents, the Streisels are just twins.
You might have a hard time convincing Panther Valley of that, however.
That's because in the three games the teams have played this season, the Panthers had to feel like they were playing against triplets or quadruplets.
On Friday in the quarterfinal round of the District 11 Class AA girls basketball playoffs, Maria and Christine Streisel once again turned in dominating performances against the Panther Valley. This time, the sisters combined for 44 points to lead Tamaqua to a 57-38 victory.
"The Streisels are outstanding basketball players," said Panther Valley coach Josh Wank. "If you make a mistake, they make you pay for it.
"Their talent and experience has given us trouble every time we've played them and tonight was no exception. We had a hard time containing them."
Maria Streisel scored a career-high 24 points last night and Christine Streisel added 20 points. It was only the second time this season that the Streisels have both scored at least 20 points in a game the other time came in the regular season finale against the Panthers. In their only other game against PV, the Streisels both had at least 15 points.
"They make my job as a coach pretty easy when they are playing like that," said Tamaqua's Joe Berezwick about his senior leaders. "They communicate so well on the court and always seem to know what the other one is going to do ... I guess that's probably a twin thing."
The Streisels and Tamaqua took charge right from the start, using an early 12-point run to build a 19-4 first quarter advantage, Both Maria and Christine scored seven points apiece in the first quarter.
"We knew we had an advantage in experience," said Maria Streisel. "We have four starters returning from last year so we've been in these type of situations before.
"I think that helped us get off to a good start. None of the Panther Valley girls had been in this situation before so we talked about trying to take advantage of that early."
Her sister agreed.
"We wanted to get off to a quick start and that's exactly what we did," said Christine Streisel. "We have a veteran team and Panther Valley is pretty young so that was something we needed to use to our advantage."
Tamaqua continued to stretch it's advantage in the second quarter as Maria Streisel scored eight points and the Raider lead ballooned to 33-9 at halftime.
A pair of Christine Streisel threes sandwiched around an Amanda Solt layup increased the lead to 41-9 two minutes into the second half.
When the Streisels weren't scoring points, it seemed like they were setting up each other baskets.
"My sister and I have been playing together since the second grade so we know what the other one is going to do on the court," said Maria Streisel
"It's twin telepathy," injected sister Christine with a laugh. "I think that helps us out on the court."
After shooting just 3-for-21 from the floor in the opening half, Panther Valley (11-12) came alive in the second half. The surge was too late to do anything about the outcome, but it was something to build on according to Wank.
"We struggled shooting the ball in the first half," said Wank. "Part of it was Tamaqua's defense and part of it was probably some nerves on our part.
"But I was really proud with how our kids didn't quit. We played a much better second half. We have 11 or our 12 players coming back next year so in the long run the experience that we gained tonight will benefit the program."
With the win, Tamaqua (17-6) moves on to Tuesday's semifinal round where it will face Notre Dame of Green Pond at Blue Mountain at 6 p.m.
"It's easy to see what the Streisels do for us, but you can't forget the contributions we get from the other kids," said Berezwick. "They are setting screens, rebounding, playing defense ... they are our lunch bucket kids. They played hard and do their job.
"You can't build the kind of lead we did tonight without getting contributions from your entire lineup."
Zlock 4-5-6-14, Blasko 2-0-0-6, Jacobs 1-0-0-2, Jones 0-0-0-0, Whilden 2-3-6-7, Markovich 0-0-0-0, Marouchoc 1-0-0-3, Smith 1-0-0-2, Corby 0-0-0-0, Vance 0-0-0-0, Mikovich 2-0-0-4, Picht 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 13-8-12-38.
Demetriades 0-0-0-0, Slivka 0-0-0-0, Kabilko 0-0-0-0, M. Streisel 7-9-10-24, C. Streisel 7-2-4-20, Solt 0-0-0-0, Valasek 0-0-0-0, Wittig 0-0-0-0, Pratka 0-0-0-0, Solt 4-3-8-11, Baddick 0-0-0-0, Pedersen 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-14-22-57.
Panther Vy. 4 5 10 19 - 38
Tamaqua 19 14 12 12 - 57
Three-pointers: PV - Blasko 2, Zlock 1, Marouchoc 1. T - C. Streisel 4, M. Streisel 1.