Tamaqua tops Miners
bob ford/times news Tamaqua's Tyler Skripko (left) looks to make a pass as Minersville's Aaron Fritz defends.
A team is typically characterized by having a group of physical players or a group of skill players.
Tamaqua is a rare team which possesses both of these components and that was on full display Monday night.
The Blue Raiders pounded Minersville on the boards enroute to a 66-55 victory.
Tamaqua head coach Caszy Kosciolek knew this Schuylkill League match up would be a great early test for his squad.
"Tonight was probably the most physical we've been since I've been here and that's what makes me proud," said Kosciolek after watching his team pile up a 38-16 rebounding edge. "Everyone on our roster is still competing for playing time and it shows with their effort on the floor."
After a low scoring first quarter, Tamaqua heated up in the second quarter thanks in large part to Brett Kosciolek.
Kosciolek caught fire as he scored 15 of his 31 points in the second quarter.
"The mark of a good player is how well he makes people around him," said coach Kosciolek. "We know that Brett has the target on his back and he's going to be the focus of the opponent.
"There are going to be games where he doesn't have to score as much to make our team successful because he's such a well rounded player."
Coach Kosciolek preached during the preseason that he wanted this team to develop a "tough" demeanor on the defensive side of the ball.
The tough Tamaqua defense forced a five-second call on Minersville at the start of the third quarter, which helped maintain the momentum for the duration of the second half.
"Basketball games are won a lot of times with how you open up the second half," said Kosciolek. "I was extremely happy with how our defense played tonight. The Skripko brothers (Tyler and Trevor) and Chris Hartung were a few kids who deserve some recognition in terms of how well they played defense."
Coach Kosciolek had praise for the Minersville team, which was able to keep the game within arms length.
"I'm telling you this Minersville team is going to compete for the Schuylkill League Division II title," said Kosciolek. "I kept telling our kids that this team is for real and they were going to have to bring it tonight."
Tamaqua had plenty of help from the long ball last night, as Kosciolek, Bo Rottet, and sixth man Russell Blaker each had a hat trick of three-pointers.
"Having a group of kids who can shoot the ball like this really puts the pressure on the defense," Kosicolek said. "It's a privilege to have such a deep rotation. These kids listen and respond well to what we say and they're a lot of fun to coach."
Blaker 4-0-0-11, Miller 0-0-0-0, Rottet 5-2-4-15, Frantz 0-0-0-0, Tr. Skripko 0-0-0-0, MacDonald 5-0-0-10, Co. Hartung 0-0-0-0, Marcin 0-2-2-2, Ty. Skripko 2-0-0-4, Kosciolek 11-6-8-31, Van Buskirk 1-0-0-2, Murphy 0-0-0-0, Ch. Hartung 0-1-2-1, Wargula 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-11-16-66
McBreen 1-2-4-4, Stephen 0-0-0-0, Bethea 6-2-4-16, Hashin 3-1-7-8, Fritz 4-0-0-10, Leshko 2-0-0-4, Stoppie 0-0-0-0, Ellinger 1-4-4-6, Tobin 1-5-8-7, Anwar 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-14-27-55
Tamaqua 12 18 18 18 66
Minersville 8 12 13 20 55
Three pointers - Tamaqua: Blaker 3, Rottet 3, Kosciolek 3; Minersville: Bethea 2, Hashin 1, Fritz 2.