Raiders remain unbeaten
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua sophomore Kayla Hope takes a shot at the basket while Blue Mountain's Jillian Grapsy unsuccessfully tries to block it during Schuylkill League Division I basketball action last night. The Raiders won the game, 48-42, to remain undefeated so far this season.
In a game of runs with Blue Mountain, Tamaqua came up with its biggest first, and made it last.
The host Lady Raiders reeled off 11 straight points in the first quarter to open up a 14-3 cushion, then held on for a 48-42 Schuylkill League Division I victory Thursday night.
Tamaqua remained undefeated at 8-0 (3-0 league), but it wasn't easy against the scrappy Eagles.
"It was one of those games where even with a double digit lead, you didn't feel comfortable," said Tamaqua coach Joe Berezwick. "We had them on the ropes a couple of times, but they found ways to make us make bad decisions to get back in it.
"We'd make a run, but just like a boxing match, they'd counter punch. We had that first push to get us over the top."
Two of the Raiders' heavy hitters did the damage during the first quarter.
Elissa Streisel connected for all eight of her points, including two triples, and Amy Zehner added three buckets to spark the early surge.
The Eagles (5-3, 2-1) fought back to cut it to 14-8 after one period, a pattern that continued all game.
"We could have found a nice warm, cozy place to hide after how hot Tamaqua was in the first quarter," said Blue Mountain coach Ruth Weidman. "We didn't go away and tried to find a way to win it.
"Streisel got them started, and then Zehner picked up the baton. They play well together," she added.
The 5-11 Zehner showcased the full range of her talents, producing a double-double as she poured in a season-high 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. She also moved into 15th place on the all-time Tamaqua girls scoring list with 855 points.
The Raiders' All-State junior got in rhythm with 10 points in the second stanza, doing it with jump shots, turnarounds in the lane and drives to the hoop as Tamaqua led 28-20 at the half.
"Amy's a phenomenal player, and with all the dimensions she brings to the game, it's difficult for opposing coaches to match up with a player like that," said Berezwick.
Zehner and guard Kayla Hope each had a pair of baskets to start the third quarter as the Tamaqua lead grew to 36-26.
Hope, who also dished off eight assists, used her quickness to harrass Eagles' guard Alexa Yoder defensively to disrupt their attack.
Offensively, however, the Raiders hit a dry spell, going on Lauren Bubeck's putback with 7:35 to go.
The Raiders, who had 12 of their 16 turnovers in the second half, ran off eight straight points to open the lead to 44-33, but the Eagles clawed back within four on an Ashley Davies steal and breakaway with 29.9 seconds to go.
Zehner had three buckets down the stretch, but her biggest play was going to the floor to dig out an offensive rebound after the Raiders missed on a one-and-one free throw attempt with 27.3 second left.
Cassie Eroh hit two foul shots with 20 seconds left to seal the win.
Jordan Hoadley topped the Eagles with 11 points and Davies added 10.
The Tamaqua JV squad also remained undefeated (8-0) with a 42-31 win behind 19 points from Christine Streisel and 10 from Maria Streisel.
Koch 2-0-0-4, Grapsy 3-0-0-7, Yoder 1-0-0-3, Davies 4-2-4-10, Thomas 0-0-0-0, Reed 1-0-0-2, Bubeck 2-0-0-5, Hoadley 5-1-2-11. TOTALS: 18-3-6-42.
Hope 3-0-1-6, Berezwick 0-0-0-0, E. Streisel 3-0-0-8, Eroh 2-2-2-6, Zehner 13-0-0-26, Updike 0-2-2-2. TOTALS: 21-4-5-48.
Blue Mt. 8 12 11 11 - 42
Tamaqua 14 14 8 12 - 48
Three-point goals: BM-Yoder 1, Grapsy 1, Bubeck 1; T-E. Streisel 2.