Corey Cinicola is used to leading the Olympians on the gridiron.
Last night, the Jim Thorpe senior quarterbacked his team on the hardwoods to a 67-48 Schuylkill Division 1 victory over Tamaqua.
The win keeps Jim Thorpe unbeaten on the season at 4-0, while the Raiders fall to 1-2.
"We were able to chalk up another victory tonight, but there's still a lot of room to improve," stated Jim Thorpe head coach Brian Carroll. "Tamaqua definitely brought its A-game, but our kids played hard and I was pleased with the effort."
However, perhaps nobody played harder than Cinicola, who carried his team on his back the entire first half.
After scoring 26 points in the first three games combined, Cinicola was a one-man wrecking crew last night, scoring 23 of his team's 36 first-half points.
"Corey was phenomenal tonight and he really held down the fort in the first half," added Carroll. "He does most of his damage in the paint, but he's also a very good shooter and I think tonight he showed off that dimension of his game."
Cinicola ended the night with a season-high 25 points, including two three-pointers, and hauled down 13 rebounds for good measure.
"Tamaqua was doubling down on Rashid (Epps) the whole game, so that created opportunities for the rest of us," noted Cinicola. "I had a lot of open looks tonight and the shots fell."
Despite Epps, the team's leading scorer (18.3 ppg), being held to 11 points and 12 rebounds, the Olympians were also aided by standout efforts from Sam Lux (15 points, 14 of which came in the second half) and Dean DiBonifazio (12 points and three three-pointers).
"Tonight was a team win and we got production from a lot of different players," added Carroll. "Last year, we kind of stood around and let Kysheem (Lynch) do his magic. This year, with teams trying to key on Rashid, everyone else needs to step up and do their part."
Tamaqua took advantage of ten Jim Thorpe first quarter turnovers and trailed by just four points (19-15) at the end of the first frame. However, Jim Thorpe's size eventually caught up to the Raiders, as the Olympians blew the doors open in the second and third quarters outscoring Tamaqua 39-25.
"Jim Thorpe's a good team but their size ended up getting the best of us tonight," stated Tamaqua head coach Jay Daubert as he referenced the Olympians outrebounding his Raiders 56-34. "We had a lot of chances at rebounds, but we just weren't able to come down with the basketball. Despite that, I thought our kids played hard and I was happy with our effort."
Michael Taylor once again led Tamaqua with 15 points, while Michael Streisel and Mike Gurcsik added 12 and 11 points respectively.
The Raiders converted on 20 of their 66 shots from the floor, while the Olympians shot 27-for-67. Jim Thorpe also had 21 turnovers, while Tamaqua turned the ball over 20 times.
In the JV game, Jim Thorpe recorded a 45-29 victory behind 15 points from Darius Clark.
Streisel 5-2-2-12, Fegley 0-0-0-0, Bumbulsky 4-0-0-8, Bennett 0-0-0-0, Lakitsky 0-0-0-0, Rudy 0-0-0-0, Taylor 6-0-0-15, Ansbach 0-0-0-0, Gurcsik 4-3-5-11, Reinhardt 0-0-0-0, Hubosky 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 20-5-7-48.
DiBonifazio 4-1-2-12, Lux 7-1-2-15, Epps 5-1-7-11, Cinicola 9-5-8-25, Johnson 2-0-0-4, Mickens 0-0-0-0, Moranta 0-0-0-0, Ciavarella 0-0-0-0, Otto 0-0-0-0, Richardson 0-0-0-0, Clark 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 27-8-19-67.
Tamaqua 15 11 14 8 - 48
Jim Thorpe 19 17 22 9 - 67
Three-Pointers: Tamaqua - Taylor 2; Jim Thorpe - DiBonifazio 3, Cinicola 2.