Raiders suffer initial setback
ron gower/times news Blue Mountain's Skyler Pancheri tries to split the doubleteam of Tamaqua's Brett Kocsiolek (left) and Joe Marcin.
The highly anticipated Division 1 Schuylkill League showdown between Blue Mountain and Tamaqua was everything everyone in attendance expected it to be.
In the end, Blue Mountain was able to make one more play than Tamaqua to escape with a 46-44 victory.
"In the first half we executed our defensive game plan very well," said Blue Mountain head coach Dustin Werdt. "Everyone in the county knows about their two scorers and we contested their shots pretty well early on."
Tamaqua head coach Caszy Kosciolek said, "We didn't shoot the ball particularly well early, but the guts and fight of our team showed up as the game progressed."
Brett Kosciolek and Bo Rottet eventually got things going as they combined for 31 of Tamaqua's 44 points.
The game started off extremely sloppy with a first quarter consisting of just 12 points 10 of which belonged to Blue Mountain.
Tamaqua's Zach Wargula sunk a three-pointer as time expired in the second quarter, which cut the Eagle lead to seven and gave Tamaqua some momentum heading into intermission.
"We were finally able to give Zach the minutes he's capable of playing. We're only going to get better with him on the court," said coach Kosciolek.
Blue Mountain once had a lead as big as nine points during the third quarter as Shane Grapsy, William Bornstein, and Mark Chelius combined for all 12 of the Eagle points during the period.
The Raiders were able to cut the lead to six as they headed into the fourth quarter. Tamaqua was finally able to establish itself in the paint as it out-rebounded Blue Mountain by a 6-2 margin in the third quarter.
The Raiders forced a few crucial turnovers midway through the final quarter, much in part to gutsy defense by Rottet.
"There are moments where we did take care of the ball well, but we also had spurts where we turned the ball over on consecutive possessions," said Werdt.
With just over a minute left on the clock, Rottet stole the ball and got fouled on a fast break. He went on to hit the back end of two free throws to even the game up.
This was part of a three minute and thirty second sequence where Tamaqua went on a resilient 7-0 run.
"Bo made some really big plays tonight. He's our quarterback and we needed him out there. He picked up three fouls early and we kept him in the game. He's a fighter and he's a very discipline player," said Kosciolek.
Coach Werdt took a timeout with :38 on the clock.
Blue Mountain played their final possession intelligently.
Bornstein took the ball to the hoop with just 2.3 seconds left on the clock and hit what would be the game winner for the Eagles.
"Will is a heck of an athlete," said Werdt. "Tamaqua played it well defensively, but he made a very aggressive move to the basket and was able to score."
Coach Kosciolek previously mentioned Blue Mountain as being a big measuring point on the schedule for his squad.
"I thought we measured up against Blue Muntain tonight very well," he said. "I'm really proud of the kids and their effort. Blue Mountain is averaging over 60 points per game and for us to hold them to 46 is very encouraging moving forward.
"The beauty of basketball is that unlike football, you don't have to wait a week to see how your team responds. I'm eager to get back to work this weekend against Hamburg."
Stramara 1-0-0-2, Bornstein 3-3-4-9, Kerstetter,0-0-0-0, Harding0-0-0-0, Slane 2-0-0-4, Graspy, 2-4-5-9, Eifert, 0-0-0-0, Chelius 3-2-3-9, Donovan 0-0-0-0,Lewis 0-0-0-0, Panchari 4-5-6-13, Albertini 0-0-0-0, Thomas 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-15-19-46
Blaker 0-0-0-0, Miller 0-0-0-0, Rottet 3-5-7-13, Frantz 0-0-0-0, Tr. Skripko 1-0-0-2, MacDonald 0-0-0-0, Co. Hartung 0-0-0-0, Marcin 0-1-2-1, Ty. Skripko 1-0-0-2, Kosciolek 8-2-2-18, Van Buskirk 0-0-0-0, Murphy 0-0-0-0, Ch. Hartung 0-0-0-0, Wargula 3-0-0-8. TOTALS: 16 -8-11-44
Blue Mtn. 10 16 12 8 - 46
Tamaqua 2 17 13 12 - 44
Three pointers: Blue Mountain - Graspy 1, Chelius 1; Tamaqua - Wargula 2, Rottet 2