Any basketball aficionado will tell you that during the course of the season there are some victories that can propel a team to success further on down the road.
Northern Lehigh's 55-47 non-league win over Tamaqua last night could prove to be just that for the Bulldogs.
The 'Dawgs outscored the Raiders by 10 points in the third frame en-route to their big victory, giving them their seventh win of the season (7-2).
"Our team is full of great team players that know their role and play hard every minute of the game," said Northern Lehigh head coach Jeff Miller.
"We keep telling them if they keep playing with intensity like that, the wins will keep coming."
Tamaqua's Bo Rottet had a one of the biggest nights of his young career.
Rottet had 19 first half points and totaled 30 on the night, including seven three-pointers.
"We didn't do a great job in the first half in regard to eliminating their three point shooting," said Miller. "Bo is a great shooter and he was on fire."
"I really don't know what we would do without him," said Tamaqua head coach Caszy Kosciolek.
"He's so important to what we do. Bo is one of the most competitive kids we have. The offensive burden fell on him today and he responded well."
The Bulldogs played some serious defense in the third quarter, as they held Tamaqua to just seven points.
"We tried different guys on him in the first half but it didn't work," said Miller.
"In the second half we tried to just run at him and occasionally double-team him. It seemed to work to some degree because he cooled down a bit."
Northern Lehigh ended the third period on a 8-0 run, and were able to hold off Tamaqua despite battling full court pressure late in the game.
"Having two veteran guards in Tyler Dibillio and Matt Egan, we feel like we can handle most pressure without turning the ball over and so far we've done that," said Miller.
Matt Egan, Tyler Dibillio, and Josh Landsberger did much of the scoring for the Bulldogs. The three combined for 49 of the team's 55 points.
Landsberger added 15 rebounds to go along with his 14 points.
"Josh did a great job on the boards. We're just a gritty team and we limited them to one shot and done for the most part," said Miller.
The Bulldogs got to the foul line 35 times which played a huge part in their success.
"They did a good job defensively and took us out of what we wanted to do," said Kosciolek.
"I was disappointed with how we played defensively. You have to credit Northern Lehigh because they were very aggressive and difficult for us to stop."
Miller knows there is always room for improvement.
"We need to do a better job of finding the opponent's shooters. I think our defense is coming along but we have a way to go," said Kosciolek. "They had us fighting uphill the whole time and they were able to maintain the lead the entire game. We have to find someone on the floor who is a vocal leader and we're still trying to find that person."
"It's a nice win against a very good Tamaqua team. Coach Kosciolek does a great job with them and they are going to be a very successful team," said Miller. "It's a big step for us."
M. Egan 4-12-16-21, Dibilio, 4-5-6-14, Taylor 0-0-0-0, J. Egan, 1-1-2-4, Hofmann, 1-0-0-2, Landsberger, 5-4-11-14. TOTALS:15-22-35-55.
Blaker 1-0-0-3, Miller 0-0-0-0, Rottet, 10-3-5-30, Frantz 1-0-0-2, Tr Skripko, 1-0-0-2, MacDonald, 0-0-0-0, Co.Hartung, 1-0-0-2, Marcin 0-0-0-0 Ty. Skripko, 3-0-0-6, Kosciolek, 1-0-0-2, Van Buskirk 0-0-0-0, Murphy 0-0-0-0, Ch. Hartung, 0-0-0-0, Wargula, 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 18 -3-5-47.
No. Lehigh 15 9 17 14 - 55
Tamaqua 13 13 7 14 - 47
Three-pointers: NL: M. Egan 1, J. Egan 1, Dibilio 1; Tamaqua: Rottet 7, Blaker 1.