When it comes to Schuylkill League boys basketball, Pottsville is the measuring stick.
In a rare afternoon game on Friday, a Tamaqua program that is enjoying its best season in nearly a decade, found out just how far it still has to go.
The Blue Raiders struggled against a suffocating Pottsville defense and had no answer for the offensive versatility of the Crimson Tide's Brandon Bridy as they dropped a 59-42 decision.
"There is a reason Pottsville hasn't lost a league game in four years," said Tamaqua coach Cas Kosciolek. "They play the best defense in the league, they are extremely disciplined on offense, they go 9 or 10 players deep, and they are very well coached.
"They are a very good basketball team. Our kids got to see where we need to get to as a program to play with an elite team."
Tamaqua was able to play with Pottsville in the early going as three-pointers by Drew Chartier and Zach Wargula had the Raiders ahead 8-4 midway through the opening quarter.
That's when the Tide defense took over as they allowed just one field goal over the next six minutes.
Meanwhile, Bridy was taking charge at both ends of the court, scoring nine points during a 16-3 run that gave Pottsville control of the game.
"Brandon is our leading scorer and tonight he displayed his versatility," said Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney. "He scored