If only the second half of last night's basketball game between the ladies of Tamaqua and Jim Thorpe counted, Tamaqua would have edged JT by a single point.
Since the first half must be added to the second half score, the Lady Raiders' victory was a lot easier as they rolled to a 49-25 Schuylkill League victory.
Even though last month was the season of giving, the young Olympians (1-9, 0-5) extended the calendar by generously gifting 18 first half turnovers to Tamaqua which was a major factor in a 30-7 halftime bulge for the visitors, and oddly enough, that occurred with the Lady Raiders shooting only 5-for-20 from the floor in the first quarter.
"The second quarter killed us," said Jim Thorpe coach Rob Kovac. "We could have packed it in after the break, but I was proud of how we competed in the second half."
"Give credit to Thorpe," said Tamaqua coach Joe Berezwick."We started four seniors and they are rebuilding. Yet both teams played well especially in the fourth quarter."
The Raiders (6-4, 3-2) jumped out to an 11-3 first quarter lead with their sister act of Maria and Christina Streisel scoring seven points. Thorpe could only manage one field goal, a three pointer from Nikki Ennis with 3:29 left to go.
In the second quarter, Tamaqua scored off of turnovers and improved shooting. Amanda Solt put down high percentage shots along the baseline while Christina Streisel pumped in a corner three along with two short jumpers as the Lady Raiders passed patiently until they found holes in the Olympian zone defense.
"We threw some junk at them with a triangle and two defensively, trying to stop the Streisel girls, but then Danielle Becker got in foul trouble and Solt hurt us inside," said Kovac.
"We had a nice flow offensively," said Berezwick. "We are an up tempo team and we also worked the ball well around the perimeter."
In the third quarter, Becker scored two buckets on putbacks while Rebecca Cressman and Alyssa Rusbarsky contributed baskets off rebounds. Ennis also nailed a three as the Lady Olympians outscored Tamaqua by a point.
"We showed patience in the third and we got good looks," remarked Kovac. "Tamaqua's a nice team; in fact, we played four good teams in seven days and we took it on the chin. But we had a good game plan tonight and we executed it well in the second half. This was also the first start of the season for our freshman, Rebecca Cressman, and she held up well. Our halfcourt offense was much better too, but our bugaboo is still all those turnovers."
The fourth quarter was evenly played on the scoreboard although Thorpe's only field goal was Cressman's short shot off the glass.
Berezwick's Lady Raiders sit in the middle of the pack in the league, but he believes his team can make a run at the lead.
"We played the division leaders, North Schuylkill and Pine Grove tough before losing late, but now they both have to come to our house. We control our destiny and we will have to make our own breaks. There's a lot of basketball left. We need to get a streak going after back to back wins and then we can make some noise."
Solt led all Tamaqua scorers with 15 points followed by Christina Streisel's 11.
Jim Thorpe was balanced as Ennis, Cressman and Becker all tallied six points.
Demetriades 2-0-0-4, M. Streisel 2-3-5-7, Kabilko 3-0-0-6, C. Streisel 5-0-0-11, V. Solt 2-0-0-4, Valasek 1-0-0-2, A. Solt 6-3-4-15, Hartung 0-0-0-0, Slivka 0-0-0-0, Jones 0-0-0-0, Wittig 0-0-0-0, Pratka 0-0-0-0, Fucci 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-6-9-49.
Ennis 2-0-0-6, Doughty 1-0-0-2, Rusbarsky 1-3-4-5, Cressman 2-2-4-6, Becker 2-2-4-6, Hassler 0-0-0-0, Condly 0-0-0-0, Bush 0-0-0-0, Shigo 0-0-0-0, Cope 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 8-7-13-25.
Tamaqua 11 19 11 8 - 49
Jim Thorpe 3 4 12 6 - 25
Three-pointers: Tamaqua - C. Streisel 1; Jim Thorpe - Ennis 2.