Earlier this week, Tamaqua was counting down the hours, minutes and seconds to get to 2013.
Over the next week or two, the Blue Raiders will be counting down the wins to get to 1000.
When the ball dropped last night at the Tamaqua Athletic Center, the Blue Raiders celebrated win number 997 with a 61-33 Schuylkill League Division 1 victory over Pine Grove. Tamaqua now needs just three more wins to reach the 1,000-win milestone in the history of the boys basketball program.
Tamaqua's next four games are: Monday at Northern Lehigh (4-2), Thursday versus Jim Thorpe (2-6), Saturday versus Southern Lehigh (4-5), and next Monday at Panther Valley (2-6).
Last night's win also improved Tamaqua to 7-2 (2-2 league) with more than half the season still to be played. The last time the Blue Raiders won at least seven games in a season was back in 2003-2004, when they finished with a 15-9 record.
"For one reason or another, there's been a dry spell here for the past 10 years or so when it comes to boys basketball," stated Tamaqua head coach Caszy Kosciolek. "We're a very young team and I didn't know if we could win this many games this early in the year, but this team is showing maturity by living in the moment and they're really starting to understand that the next play is the most important play."
"I don't think there's a selfish bone in any kid's body on this team and they're all about trying to make their teammates better," added Kosciolek. "We talked to the kids about the seventh win being the most wins by a Tamaqua team in almost ten years, and now with 1,000 in our sights, I guess you can say this team is finding a way to make recent history."
The game couldn't have started off better for Tamaqua. Six different Raiders scored field goals in the game's opening eight minutes, as Tamaqua raced out to a 21-9 lead in a first quarter that saw Tamaqua hit 10 of its 14 shots. The 21 points was just four fewer than they scored two days ago in a 46-25 loss to Pottsville.
Sophomore Brett Kosciolek scored eight of his game-high 20-points in the first quarter, including an alley-oop dunk from sophomore point guard Bo Rottet. Kosciolek added 12 rebounds for a double-double, while Rottet scored 15 points on the night.
"We have kids with a lot of basketball skills on this team, there's no doubt about it," touted Kosciolek. "Bo's the quarterback out there, he directs the show and he's getting better at it as the season progresses."
After leading 38-22 at the half, Rottet scored Tamaqua's first three field goals of the third quarter, as the Raiders opened up a 44-22 lead. Pine Grove (2-8, 1-3) trimmed the lead to 44-27 with 3:56 remaining in the quarter, but the Cardinals shot 2-of-21 for the rest of the game.
Adam Frantz added 10 points for Tamaqua, while Pine Grove's Kobe D'Agostino scored a team-high 11 points.
Tamaqua shot 56-percent for the floor (23-for-41), while Pine Grove was 10-for-50 (20-percent). Tamaqua also outrebounded the Cardinals 43-29.
In the JV game, Tamaqua cruised to a 48-33 victory.
Blankenhorn 1-0-1-2, D'Agostino 3-3-5-11, Rossi 0-0-0-0, Mars 0-0-0-0, Bressler 2-2-3-6, Wolfe 3-3-12-9, Fick 0-0-0-0, Weinus 0-2-2-2, Kreiser 1-0-0-2, Keefer 0-1-2-1, Seigler 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 10-11-25-33.
Rottet 6-1-2-15, Chartier 1-2-2-4, Krell 1-0-0-2, Weinert 1-0-0-3, Frantz 4-2-2-10, Wargula 0-3-4-3, Kehl 0-0-2-0, MacDonald 1-0-1-2, Marcin 0-0-0-0, Tyler Skripko 1-0-0-2, Kosciolek 8-2-3-20, Trevor Skripko 0-0-4-0. TOTALS: 23-10-20-61.
Pine Grove 9 13 7 4 - 33
Tamaqua 21 17 11 12 - 61
Three-Pointers: Pine Grove - D'Agostino 2; Tamaqua - Rottet 2, Kosciolek 2, Weinert 1.