All it took was a few words from coach Mick Stefanek to inspire the Palmerton boys' basketball team prior to its non-league match-up with Tamaqua.
As they walked on to the court for the tip-off, the Bombers' starting five, which consisted of seniors Tyler Svetik, Cody Geist, Brett Snyder, Kyle Ruch, and junior Matt Leaver, looked as if every single one of them were on a mission.
Svetik said it was the motivating words from their first year coach that pushed them to the limits in earning a 60-48 victory Saturday afternoon.
Svetik, who led all scorers with a game-high 22 points, stated those words struck close to everyone's heart.
"He said to us, 'I never have really asked you guys a favor, but come out and win this one for me,'" Svetik recalled. "I think that really hit us and we really wanted to go out and play hard for him and get the win. It simply was a big game, especially since Coach (Stefanek) is from Tamaqua.
"Our assistant coach (Jim Barron) coached over there for many years and then he interviewed and he didn't get the job. We wanted to come out and win for them. We just wanted to come out and take it to them."
It didn't take long for the Bombers to show that they meant business. Geist took the opening tip straight to the basket for a quick layup. On the very next trip Snyder nailed a three-pointer to give the hosts a quick 5-0 lead. After the Blue Raiders' Brett Kosciolek hit a free throw, the Bombers went on to build an 18-4 lead with 1:16 left in the opening quarter.
It was a lead that Tamaqua could never overcome.
The Blue Raiders pulled to within four points early in the second half and got within five on a number of occasions in the fourth quarter, but the Bombers (2-15) found a way to answer back every time.
"They hit some big shots, so we had to come right back and hit some big shots too," said Geist, who finished with a double-double scoring 16 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. "It was all about keeping the momentum in our favor."
Svetik put the icing of the cake for the Bombers in the final period by hitting a bucket along with going a perfect 8-for-8 at the charity stripe when the Blue Raiders were forced to foul.
"I'm proud of the effort they have given me, everything they can, especially given the situation with the season we're having," said Stefanek. "That's really what will stand out about this first group I coached here at Palmerton. They're competitors. They're hustlers. We don't always play the game the way it's suppose to be played, but they come to practice and they come to every game and they play their hearts out. That's all I could ask for as their head coach.
"There were times in the game where we had a nice lead and Tamaqua, to their credit, came back and cut it to four or five. But our kids bailed themselves out when they could have just packed it in."
For Tamaqua (4-13), Brett Kosciolek led the way with 16 points.
"We gave a gallant effort at times to get within reach," Tamaqua head coach Caszy Kosciolek said. "But, we were playing uphill the whole time. We were up against it right from the get-go and we got down by double digits early. Even though we made a number of runs, we just were physically exhausted and we couldn't push ourselves over that hump.
"They controlled the game give them credit. For a team that came in here with a record like they have, it shows a lot of character to really take it to us."
Nunemacher 1-0-0-2, Wargula 3-0-0-9, Fegely 3-0-0-8, B. Rottet 3-0-0-9, Frantz 0-0-0-0, Kosciolek 6-3-4-16, Kurek 2-0-0-4, Kehl 0-0-0-0, Krell 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-3-4-48.
Svetik 7-8-8-22, Snyder 1-0-2-3, Leaver 3-3-4-9, Ruch 3-1-4-8, Lesher 0-0-0-0, Geist 8-0-0-16, Quinn 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 23-12-18-60.
Tamaqua 8 12 14 14 - 48
Palmerton 20 7 16 17 - 60
Three-pointers: Tamaqua - Wargula 3, Rottet 3, Fegely 2, Kosciolek 1; Palmerton - Snyder 1, Ruch 1.