Zehner grand is latest Raider milestone
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Amy Zehner, third from left, is congratulated by family members after she scored her 1,000th point in varsity basketball, Thursday. From left are her parents, Mel and Judy Zehner; her sister, Lori; nephew, Judge Gusick, who is being held by another sister, Kelly Gusick, and niece Alina Gusick.
It has been a month of milestones for Tamaqua Lady Raider basketball.
First, on Jan. 18, the Raiders beat North Schuylkill to give coach Joe Berezwick his 200th career victory.
A few days later, on Jan. 21, Tamaqua earned the 500th triumph in the history of its program with a win at Jim Thorpe.
The latest achievement came from Amy Zehner, Tamaqua's 5-11 All-State standout, who reached a personal goal in surpassing the 1,000 point mark Thursday night.
Zehner did it in style, pouring in a career-high 34 points as the Raiders improved to 15-1 with a 68-48 rout of Minersville at the Tamaqua Area Athletic Center.
Zehner became the 12th Lady Raider to join the "Grand Company".
She began the evening in 12th place on the Tamaqua girls scoring list with 984 points. By the time the final buzzer had sounded, she had moved into ninth place with 1,018 points, surpassing 1982 graduate Lisa Willing (1,001 points), 1992 grad Missy Longhi (1,008) and 2001 grad Tracy Smudin (1,017).
The top eight on the list ahead of Zehner are Christa DeAngelo (Class of 1995, 1,082 points), Amanda Fenkner ('04, 1,112), Casey Wagner ('08, 1,151), Carla Kemmerer ('88, 1,271), Wendy Truskey ('78, 1,380), Lynne Titus ('78, 1,426), Cindy Miller ('80, 2,155) and Erika Barron ('07, 2,317).
Zehner is the third Raider junior to make it to the 1,000 point plateau, joining Miller and Barron.
Needing 16 points for her grand, Zehner almost took care of it in the first quarter. She racked up 14 points in a hurry, using her array of short jumpers, inside moves, and drives to the basket. As the first quarter buzzer neared, she had a breakaway, only to have her lay-up attempt roll in and out.
Finally, she took matters into her own hands, grabbing a defensive rebound and beating the Lady Miners down the floor for a driving hoop and points 999 and 1,000 with 5:45 left in the half.
"Thank God it's over," said Zehner after the game. "I was so nervous. I wanted to get it out of the way and forget about it the rest of the game. It worked out. We played a good ballgame after that."
The Raiders made sure Zehner got plenty of looks at the rim.
"I got little inside jumpers and lay-ups coming off the seams," related Zehner. "I couldn't have done it without my teammates. They fed me the ball real well. That's all you can ask for as a player out there.
"It was definitely one of the goals I had, but I want to forget about it now and continue with the season, keep up with what we're doing and enjoy it," she added.
Zehner was also pleased to get her 1,000th in front of her family, including parents Mel and Judy and her sisters, Kelli and Lori, both former Tamaqua players. (Lori, a 2000 graduate, ranks 27th on the TAHS scoring list with 622 points).
Amy admitted she did take some good-natured teasing from her sisters before the game.
"They were telling me not to choke, and I was like, let it go, let it go, but I forgot about it come game time," she related. "I just wanted to let the game play out and I knew that if I just played my game, I'd get it."
Zehner is the fifth 1,000 plus scorer to play under Berezwick, who also coached Barron, Fenkner, Wagner and Smudin.
"Coming up to this milestone, I was thinking about all of them," said Berezwick. "It was great to see Amy reach 1,000, and it's alway nice when you can get it at home, too."
Zehner also pulled down 14 rebounds for another double-double, a reminder of the all-around skills she possesses.
"It's not just about points, it's about everything she does," said Berezwick. "You get into these point conversations, but when you talk about the whole game and what she can do out on the court, it's incredible.
"With her unselfishness and her ability to do so many things on the floor besides just scoring, she's just an outstanding player."