Starting three sophomores, one junior and one senior, Tamaqua is considered a relatively young team.
However, if the past 48 hours are any indication, the Blue Raiders are growing up in a hurry.
One day after opening the season with a 13-point victory over Minersville, Tamaqua cruised to its second double-figure win in as many days with last night's 58-46 victory over Shenandoah Valley (2-1).
To put things in perspective on just how much Tamaqua is maturing as a basketball program, Shenandoah Valley won 21 games last season and advanced to the State playoffs. Tamaqua, on the other hand, has won just 21 games over the previous four seasons combined and hasn't sniffed the playoffs since 2003.
But a 2-0 start is music to the ears of Tamaqua head coach Caszy Kosciolek.
"We're young and sometimes you never know how young kids are going to respond out on the court," stated Kosciolek. "But these kids have been playing a lot of basketball together for many years now, and they've experienced success and know what it takes to win. This is still very much a growing process, but so far, it's been a nice start to the season."
And for the second straight night, it was also a nice start to the game for the Blue Raiders.
After jumping out to a 17-11 first quarter lead over Minersville, Tamaqua exploded to a 12-5 first quarter lead over Shenandoah.
Tamaqua scored the first seven points of the game, and converted four of its first five shots from the floor. Meanwhile, Shenandoah missed its first 11 shots and didn't get its first field goal until 2:40 left in the first quarter.
"We came out of the gates tonight very similar to last night (Monday)," added Kosciolek. "The thing that impressed me about this group early on is not only getting the lead, but also being able to maintain the lead."
Shenandoah scored the first six points of the second quarter to cut the deficit to one point (12-11), but the Blue Raiders never relinquished the lead.
Tamaqua led 29-20 at halftime and went on a 10-2 run to open the third quarter, and the Blue Raiders took command by a score of 39-22.
For the second night in a row, Tamaqua placed three players in double-figures with sophomore Brett Kosciolek leading the way with 17 points, while Bo Rottet and Adam Frantz tacked on 14 and 12 points respectively.
"We're focusing a lot of defense this year," said Kosciolek. "We gave up five points in the first quarter and 46 points for the game, and I think Shenandoah is a pretty decent offensive team."
"The thing I've been most surprised about is that we're able to get offensive production from a lot of different sources. The same three kids that scored in double-figures on Monday scored double-figures tonight and when you can combine that offensive balance with a good defensive effort, we give ourselves an excellent chance at being successful."
Kosciolek added 16 rebounds to go with his 17 points for his second "double-double" in as many games.
Justin Alvarez paced Shenandoah with 15 points and Nick Merva added 11.
Tamaqua shot 21-for-47 from the floor, while the Blue Devils converted 19 of their 69 shots. The Blue Raiders outrebounded Shenandoah 42-41, but committed 23 turnovers to the Blue Devils' 15.
Shenandoah Valley won the JV game by a final score of 58-55.
Merva 4-2-2-11, Alvarez 6-2-4-15, Marnell 1-0-0-2, Maskornick 1-1-2-3, Palubinsky 4-1-2-9, John Storm 2-0-0-4, Herb 1-0-0-2, McCole 0-0-0-0, Marconi 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-6-10-46.
Rottet 5-2-3-14, Chartier 0-1-2-1, Krell 2-1-4-5, Weinert 1-0-0-3, Frantz 5-2-2-12, Wargula 2-1-2-5, Kehl 0-1-2-1, MacDonald 0-0-0-0, Marcin 0-0-0-0, Tyler Skripko 0-0-0-0, Kosciolek 6-2-4-17, Trevor Skirpko 0-0-0-0, Hartung 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-10-19-58.
Shen. Vy. 5 15 6 20 - 46
Tamaqua 12 17 15 14 - 58
Three-Pointers: Shenandoah Valley - Merva 1, Alvarez 1; Tamaqua - Kosciolek 3, Rottet 2, Weinert 1.