Tamaqua Lady Raiders coach Joe Berezwick certainly has had his fair share of talented players over they years. Maybe none greater than the nucleus of players that formed the 28-1 squad in 2010-11 that defeated perennial power Allentown Central Catholic to win the the District 11 title.
This year's Tamaqua team has the last of that bunch from the Raiders championship season with seniors Maria Streisel, Christine Streisel, Amanda Solt, and Kori Kabilko. The 2012-13 Raiders also haven't played so bad themselves this year, going 15-6, currently sitting in the fourth spot for the District 11 AA playoffs. The Lady Raiders continued their strong play closing out their home schedule with a bang dismantling Jim Thorpe 53-20 on senior night.
Tamaqua's defense played a key role in the win, not allowing double digits in any quarter on the evening. Christine Streisel also got the Lady Raiders offense on track with another hot shooting performance. She canned three triples in the frame, helping Tamaqua get out to a 19-5 lead after one.
"Defensively we did a good job, just like the other night against Lehighton and again we focused on moving the ball against their zone," said Berezwick. "Our teamwork throughout the year has just been great and you can tell just by watching us that we don't have a selfish girl out there. I'm happy with the way the girls played and happy with another win for sure."
The Jim Thorpe offense much like it has all season struggled to make buckets. The Lady Olympians shot just 2-for-18 in the first half and 5-for-36 for the entire ball game. Jim Thorpe coach Rob Kovac was obviously disappointed in his team's performance, but at the same time had a lot of praise for the Tamaqua seniors.
"We've played 19 games so far and being young can't be an excuse for us anymore," said Kovac. "It's just a lack of fundamentals and we need to get a lot better if we want to be competitive in the next couple years. That being said we've seen these girls from this senior class so many times over the years and it has been a pleasure to coach and compete against them. They're not just good basketball players either they're great kids as well."
Maria and Christine Streisel were a crucial part of the Lady Raiders 2010-11 District 11 Championship team. Maria served as the point guard on that team and Christine as the sharp shooter off the bench. It has been good senior campaigns for both girls this season with Christine averaging 15 points per game and Maria putting in 14 per contest.
"It's been a great four years," said Maria Streisel. I couldn't have asked for better teammates or a better program to represent. It's to the point where you have to go out there and treat every game like it's your last. I just don't want it to be over."
As noted, Berezwick has coached some pretty successful teams over the last decade, but this is one team that will always have a special place in his heart.
"The good news is even though it's senior night there's still a lot of basketball left," said Berezwick. "We're going to really hate to see them go after everything is said and done though. They were awesome in the past and they're still awesome today. They truly are just a great bunch of kids. We'll miss them."
Christine Streisel finished with a game-high 21 points, while Amanda Solt added 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Doughty 2-3-4-7, Cope 0-0-0-0, Condly 0-4-8-4, Ennis 1-0-0-3, Rusbarsky 0-0-0-0, Cressman 0-2-2-2, Becker 2-0-0-4, Bush 0-0-0-0, Shigo 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 5-9-14-20.
Hartung 0-0-0-0, Demetriades 1-0-0-2, Slivka 1-0-0-2, Kabilko 2-0-0-4, M. Streisel 2-2-4-7, C. Streisel 8-1-1-21 , V. Solt 0-0-0-0, Valasek 2-0-0-5, Wittig 0-0-0-0, Pratka 1-0-0-2, A. Solt 2-6-8-10. TOTALS: 19-9-13-53.
Jim Thorpe 5 3 9 3 - 20
Tamaqua 19 4 12 18 - 53
Three-pointers: JT - Ennis 1; M. Streisel 1, Valasek 1, C. Streisel 4.