With 7:14 left in the game, Tamaqua head coach Joe Berezwick decided to take a gamble.
After playing his hand perfectly in rallying his troops from a 10-point halftime deficit, momentum and the lead was in the Lady Raiders' favor. However, in the span of the next two minutes, the odds quicky turned against him, and Blue Mountain cashed in a 50-46 Schuylkill League Division 1 victory.
With Tamaqua clinging to a 39-36 lead, Maria Streisel picked up her fourth foul of the game. At that point, Streisel was leading the team with 13 points, six steals and five assists.
Electing to buck the odds and leave the junior point guard in the contest, the decision proved costly, as Streisel fouled out of the game just one minute, 44 seconds later. From that point on, Blue Mountain outscored the Lady Raiders 11-4 to remain undefeated atop the Schuylkill League Division 1 standings with an 8-0 league mark and a 14-1 record overall.
"I've always gambled with my kids and I always liked to think they know how to play when they're in foul trouble," stated Berezwick. "I just felt at that point in time, if I took Maria out of the game, it would jeopardize the run we were on.
"It's on me, I didn't protect her like I probably should have, but I've made that same decision many times before and it worked in my favor. As in life, you look back on things and wish you would have done things differently, but that's the nature of sports, and this time it just didn't work out for us."
Blue Mountain began the game on fire, as the Lady Eagles drained their first five shots from the floor for a 10-0 lead just two and a half minutes into the contest. The Raiders would eventually cut the deficit to 18-16 early in the second quarter before Blue Mountain went on a 14-6 run to end the first half.
"We thought we could come out and go man-to-man with them, but it became evident quickly that we needed to adjust our game plan," added Berezwick. "It just seemed like they couldn't miss to start the game so we settled into a 2-3 zone midway through the second quarter and it started to pay dividends for us."
Trailing 32-22, Tamaqua came out of the locker room hot, as it scored the first seven points of the second half to trim the Blue Mountain lead to 32-29. The third quarter proved to be the "Streisel Show," as Maria scored seven points and twin sister Christine added eight to account for all 15 points in a third quarter the Raiders outscored Blue Mountain 15-4.
"Maria's been playing solid basketball all season and Christine's really been coming along as of late," noted Berezwick. "You could just see the momentum and the game changing and I was really feeling confident with the shots we were taking, even up until the last two minutes. Then the bottom just dropped out, as we started to make inopportune mistakes at inopportune times. Not to make excuses, but losing Maria put us in a bad situation that we just weren't able to overcome."
Down by three points (49-46), the Raiders had one last chance to tie the game, but a turnover with 10.5 seconds remaining sealed their fate.
Christine Streisel had 15 points to lead Tamaqua (9-7, 3-5), while Maria Streisel and Kayla Hope scored 13 and 10 points respectively.
Shanelle Kock paced Blue Mountain with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
In the JV game, Blue Mountain rolled to a 44-19 victory.
Kerns 1-0-0-2, Koch 8-2-6-18, Grapsy 2-5-6-11, Starr 2-1-1-5, Schu 5-2-2-12, Moyer 0-0-0-0, Foster 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 19-10-15-50.
Hope 4-2-2-10, Trainer 0-0-0-0, Kabilko 1-0-0-2, M. Streisel 5-3-4-13, C. Streisel 6-0-0-15, Valasek 0-0-0-0, A. Solt 2-2-3-6. TOTALS: 18-7-9-46.
Blue Mountain 18 14 4 14 - 50
Tamaqua 14 8 15 9 - 46
Three-Pointers: Blue Mountain - Grapsy 2; Tamaqua - C. Streisel 3.