Any basketball aficionado will tell you that a team's bench is just as important as its starting five.

The Tamaqua Lady Raiders proved that last night as they not only hung on to an eight-point fourth quarter lead, but extended it as they came away with a 49-38 Schuylkill League Division 1 victory.

Tamaqua got themselves into a little hot water entering the fourth.

Premier ball handler Maria Streisel and do-it-all player Kori Kabilko were both on the bench with four fouls to start the final quarter. The Panthers were down eight, but had all five starters on the floor. With the athleticism of the PV lineup there's no doubt the Lady Raiders lead was in jeapardy.

However, Tamaqua responded to the adversity going on a 7-0 run to start the frame. A full-court connection from Christine Streisel to Page Demitriades opened the quarter followed by a beautiful kick out pass from Demitriades to Streisel, who drained the three. Then the Solt sisters got in on the fun with Vanessa feeding Amanda inside for two. All of a sudden the Lady Raiders had a commanding 41-27 lead.

"That fourth quarter looked troublesome there for us with Kabilko and Maria on the bench with four fouls each," said Tamaqua coach Joe Berezwick. "The rest of the kids stepped up and we extended the lead to double digits. That's big for us, our role players really made some nice plays and then we were able to control the tempo down the stretch."

The Panthers gave Tamaqua some trouble early with a triangle and two defense that confused the Lady Raiders enough to get them out of playing their game.

The Panthers hung close until the fourth. They were even with Tamaqua after one, down three after two, and eight entering the fourth. However, turnovers and a lack of balanced scoring came back to bite the Lady Panthers. They turned it over 23 times and PV guard Abby Whildin was the only player in double figures. Whildin had 23 of the Panther's 38 points with Sam Zlock being the next closest scorer with eight.

"We got in some foul trouble and with us only having one ball handler on the floor at that time, I think that led to some turnovers for us," said PV coach Josh Wank. "There's no doubt we need to develop some more scoring on the inside and as a whole. We missed some opportunities inside that could have translated into some points for us. Proud of our kids though they played hard we just got to sure up some things moving forward."

Christine Streisel led the Tamaqua scoring attack with 16 points, Maria Streisel tallied 15, and Amanda Solt chipped in with 10.

PANTHER VY.

Whildin 7-5-9-23, Marouchoc 0-0-0-0, Blasko 1-0-0-3, Vance 0-0-0-0, Corby 0-0-0-0, Smith 0-0-0-0, Markovich 0-0-0-0, Mikovich 2-0-0-4, Zlock 4-0-0-8. TOTALS: 13-7-15-38.

TAMAQUA

Demetriades 3-0-1-6, Kabilko 0-2-2-2, M. Streisel 4-7-10-15, C. Streisel 7-1-3-16, V. Solt 0-0-0-0, Valasek 0-0-0-0, A. Solt 2-6-10-10. TOTALS: 16-16-26-49.

Panther Vy. 11 10 6 11 - 38

Tamaqua 11 13 11 15 - 49

Three-pointers: PV - Whildin 4, Blasko 1; T - C. Streisel 1.