On their way out of the locker room at halftime, the Tamaqua Lady Raiders took a quick peak at the final results from last year's two Schuylkill League Division I losses to Pine Grove.
It set the tone for the second half and the Lady Raiders quickly returned the favor this time around with a 53-36 victory.
"We came into the second half with fire in our eyes," Tamaqua senior Amy Zehner said. "Coming into this game, we had the scores (62-56, 62-60) from last year listed on the board in the locker room and it was just a little extra motivation for us with what they did to us a year ago.
"The final score tells all tonight. We came out ready to go and all the preparation helped us get the key win."
The Raiders (8-0; 3-0 SL) and the Cardinals (8-1; 1-1 SL) ended the first quarter tied at 8-8.
Christine Streisel gave Tamaqua a quick three-point lead to start the second quarter with a trey. After that, Zehner and Maria Streisel, who finished with 11 points, gave the host as much as a five-point lead, but the Cardinals were able to pull back within three (21-18) at the half.
The Lady Raiders only led 31-27 with 2:28 left in the third period, buts hortly afterwards, Zehner and Maria Streisel added the spark the Blue Raiders needed within their offensive game plan.
Maria Streisel hit three of four free throws and Zehner dropped a put back off a offensive rebound. Maria Streisel followed by scoring on a driving lay-up, which gave the Lady Raiders a comfortable 10-point lead (37-27) entering the final quarter.
In a matter of a minute and a half, Tamaqua head coach Joe Berezwick watched his players take a 16-point lead thanks to a 13-0 run that split between the final two quarters.
"It just kind of extended from halftime," Berezwick said. "We knew that Pine Grove was thinking about the same thing as we were both coming out looking to have a good run to start the quarter. Both teams kind of stalemated each other there to start the third quarter, but we had a little bit of an edge.
"It came a little later than I was hoping, but when we got on that 13-0 run, the big thing was that it did come in our favor and the girls just exploded."
Cassie Eroh joined in on the festivities scoring seven of her 12 points in the fourth quarter. Zehner finished off the evening with a game-high 17 points.
"We just came out wanting this one," Eroh said. "Coach just told us to crash the boards and simply be patient on offense. We were able to get a lot of open looks under the basket. We were excited to finally be able to play and beat them."
While it was a monkey off their back, Berezwick was simply glad his team was the best in a showdown of Schuylkill League front-runners.
"Last year was last year, this year is this year," Berezwick said. "I would be lying if I said we didn't talk about that or even think about it.
"Both teams were undefeated in the division coming into this game. We got the edge here tonight, so it was a good win for the team."
Maria Streisel finished the game with 11 points.
Smith 0-0-0-0, Nagle 0-0-0-0, Thompson 0-0-0-0, Evans 2-4-6-8, Zimmerman 1-2-2-4, Geiger 1-0-0-2, Dimon 1-0-0-2, Kimmel 2-1-2-5, Ryan 3-0-0-6, Bertasavage 0-0-0-0, Anderson 4-1-1-9. TOTALS: 14-8-11-36.
Hope 2-0-0-4, M. Streisel 3-5-7-11, C. Streisel 1-0-0-3, Eroh 4-4-6-12, Zehner 7-2-3-17, Updike 2-2-2-6. TOTALS: 19-13-18-53.
Pine Grove 8 10 9 9 - 36
Tamaqua 8 13 16 16 - 53
Three-pointers: PG - none; Tamaqua - C. Streisel 1, Zehner 1.