Tamaqua had a couple things they needed to work on after their seven point loss to Lehighton over the weekend.
The Raiders struggled to run successful offensive sets against the Indians. Along with that they also had some defensive breakdowns throughout the game that definitely gave Lehighton momentum.
However, last night against Jim Thorpe the Raiders (13-8, 6-5 Schuylkill League) have seemed to work out some of the kinks. Tamaqua dominated Jim Thorpe from the tip to come away with a 57-37 Schuylkill League Division 1 victory.
It was evident from the onset that Tamaqua was going to apply a fierce attitude to their defensive effort. The Raiders came out in a 1-3-1 zone set with hands swinging in every direction and it gave Thorpe a ton of problems.
The Olympians (3-18, 1-10 SL) have not been a good outside shooting team at all this year and their lack of movement on the offensive side of the ball didn't help their cause. JT was only able to hit one three on the night, shooting 1-for-16 from beyond the arc.
"The last time we played these guys it came down to the last possession. We did a poor job of stopping them in transition and also a poor job of stopping their penetration. This time around we did a really good job on the defensive end in all facets," said Tamaqua coach Caszy Kosciolek. "Our defense was the difference, for most of the game we didn't allow any penetration or any fast break layups, which was the key for us in getting the win."
Tamaqua also did a good job of moving the basketball against Jim Thorpe's zone and man defenses. The Raiders pretty much got any shot they wanted in the first half, outscoring Thorpe 36-13. The Raiders super sophomore connection of Bo Rottet and Brett Kosciolek each scored 10 points a piece in that time to help gain the 23-point advantage.
Another thing the Raiders showcased against Thorpe that they did not against Lehighton was patience. If they ran a set and it wasn't there, they brought it back out and called something else.
"We got to the foul line tonight probably more than we have all year. We also probably had more assists tonight than any other game this season," said Kosciolek. "Each one of our kids made eachother better out there tonight, which equaled a lot of assists for us. Our kids scored with contact tonight and that's encouraging heading into the playoffs."
The Olympians improved in the second half, but the hole they dug themselves was just too deep to crawl out of. Jim Thorpe switched to a full court man-to-man type defense in the late third and fourth quarter, causing the Raiders to commit 11 turnovers. Khadir Lindsey tallied five steals in the second half, scoring all nine of his points.
"Tamaqua showed us tonight the difference between a playoff team and a non-playoff team," said Jim Thorpe coach Brian Carroll. "They really took it to us in the first half, but I'm proud of our kids effort in the second half."
Kosciolek scored a game-high 16 points and Rottet added 11.
For Thorpe Jaquan Brown tallied 12 points.
Rottet 3-3-4-11, Chartier 2-4-4-8, Krell 2-3-4-7, Weinert 0-0-0-0, Frantz 2-0-0-4, Kehl 2-0-0-4, MacDonald 0-0-0-0, Marcin 1-0-0-2, Ty. Skripko 0-0-0-0, Kosciolek 6-3-4-16, Tr. Skripko 0-0-0-0, Minchhoff 0-1-2-1, Co. Hartung 1-0-0-2, Murphy 0-0-0-0, Ch. Hartung 0-0-0-0, Blaker 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-14-20-57
Harelston 2-1-1-6, Lindsey 4-1-3-9, M. Principe 0-0-0-0, McElmoyle 0-0-0-0, Micciche 1-2-2-4, Brown 5-2-4-12, Everitt 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 15-6-10-37.
Tamaqua 19 17 12 13 - 57
Jim Thorpe 6 7 13 11 - 37
Three-pointers T - Rottet 2, Kosciolek 1. JT - Hareslton 1.