Resiliency is the term that may best describe the play of the Tamaqua girl's basketball team this season. The Lady Raiders (7-5) have been hot, winning five straight games after a 2-5 start. Tamaqua showed their fight once again last night storming back from a 29-16 half-time deficit to challenge the Olympians in the fourth quarter getting as close as two points in the fourth. Thorpe's transition game proved to be too much however, as the Lady Olympians pulled away to get the 52-45 Schuylkill League Division I victory.
Jim Thorpe (12-1, 5-1) dominated the first half with their full-court pressure and forced the Lady Raiders into difficult positions throughout the first and second quarters. Tamaqua committed 15 turnovers in the first half of the ball game.
"All the credit goes to Jim Thorpe and their defense," said Tamaqua coach Joe Berezwick. "They came out with a lot of intensity and put us in some tough spots. We just turned the ball over too much, which is very uncharacteristic of the way we play."
Tamaqua dug themselves a 13-point hole at the half, but came out shooting the ball better in the third quarter.
Christine and Maria Streisel were a big reason for the Raiders rapid fire in the second-half scoring 21 of Tamaqua's 29 points. Christine Streisel canned three treys in the half and at the end of three the Lady Raiders closed the gap, trailing by just seven.
"This team has a lot of fight in it," said Berezwick. "I'm proud of the way the girls played defense in the second half. They never quit and they never gave up."
Tamaqua turned up the heat even more in the fourth flipping the switch by taking advantage of Lady Olympian missed shots and turnovers.
"This was kind-of a strange game," said Jim Thorpe coach Rob Kovac. "Tamaqua is probably the team we play that mirrors us the most not in the way we do things, but with how athletic they are. They were the first team that actually came out and really went at us this season and it gave us some trouble in the second half."
The Lady Raiders got within two with about 3:30 left in the fourth, but then TIMES NEWS area scoring leader Celeste Robinson (24.60 ppg) took the game into her own hands. Robinson, who has been as sure as "death and taxes" when driving to the bucket scored three straight coast to coast baskets to seal the deal for Thorpe.
"You have to give Tamaqua credit for fighting back in the fourth," said Kovac. "They were hitting shots and we actually for the first time this season had to get out of our zone because they were just hitting everything. On the flip side of that my girls need to get credit as well for handling their comeback. Things weren't going our way, but the girls composed themselves and went on a late run to finish the game."
Celeste Robinson matched a season-high scoring 32 points with 11 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Chelsea Smelas also added 10 for Jim Thorpe.
Christine Streisel finished the night with 17 points, while Maria Streisel netted 16 for Tamaqua.
Hope 4-0-0-9, Trainer 0-0-0-0, Kabilko 1-0-0-2, M. Streisel 7-1-2-16, C. Streisel 6-1-2-17, Valasek 0-0-0-0, A. Solt 0-1-4-1. TOTALS: 18-3-8-45.
McEmoyle 1-0-0-2, Batts 1-0-2-2, Lawrence 1-2-2-4, Robinson 13-6-7-32, Mosteller 0-2-2-2, Smelas 4-2-5-10. TOTALS: 20-12-18-52.
Tamaqua 9 7 12 17 - 45
Jim Thorpe 15 14 6 17 - 52
Three-pointers: T- C, Streisel 4, M. Streisel 1, Hope1.