Raiders record 1,000th victory
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua and Palmerton players battle for position under the basket on an inbounds play. From left are, Tamaqua's Drew Chartier, Palmerton's Spencer Shigo (4) and Alex Koma (30), Tamaqua's Brett Kosciolek, Palmerton's Spencer Hay, Tamaqua's Tyler Krell (4) and Palmerton's Zach Buck (32).
Tamaqua withstood an early challenge from Palmerton and pulled away late en route to a comfortable 71-34 non-league win.
The win not only puts the Raiders (10-7) one game away from qualifying for the District 11 playoffs for the first time in nine years, it also gives the storied program 1,000 victories.
Tamaqua certainly needed a bounce-back game after losing the previous night to Schuylkill League rival Pottsville, 59-42. The Raiders were also on a three game losing streak, and saw their once secure spot in the postseason suddenly in jeopardy.
With the win over Palmerton (0-16), Tamaqua has reestablished itself as one of the area's top programs.
"These are the type of wins that we have to get," said Tamaqua coach Caszy Kosciolek. "Early on they (Palmerton) had some fight and we didn't really play good defense in that first quarter or match their intensity.
"But we matched their intensity and exceeded it from that point on."
Kosciolek believes that the rough three game stretch will benefit his team as they approach the postseason.
"I told them that even though we went on that three game skid, that playing that tough competition is going to benefit you to finish our year off," said Kosciolek. "And I think today was a case of that.
"This team has done it all year. We haven't let too many games slip away that we should win."
Brett Kosciolek led Tamaqua with a game-high 17 points, while Zach Wargula chipped in another 13 and Drew Chartier added 11.
Even though the Bombers haven't had the best season, Tamaqua still came out and played at a high level to avoid a letdown, which is something Kosciolek believes the team learned from last year.
"We had a disappointing loss to them last year," Kosciolek said. "One thing we're trying to focus on this year is the fact that down the stretch last year we played poorly.
"We're a year older and have another year of experience."
Kosciolek hopes that experience gives his team the resolve they will need as they head into hostile territory down the stretch both in and out of the Schuylkill League.
"We've got to be good on the road because our next four are on the road," Kosciolek remarked. "We're gonna try to grind it out and finish strong."
The road team in this contest showed fight, but the Bombers were unable to keep up with the Raiders down the stretch.
Palmerton was slowed by the loss of starter Matt Leaver, who was out with an arm injury. The absence of Leaver left the Bombers lacking depth, which was something they could not overcome against a high-powered Tamaqua team.
"We lost our point guard (Leaver) last game and now I have to pick someone off the JV level," McCarroll said. "Our bench is thin right now."
Mark Quinn paced the Bombers with nine points.
Still, McCarroll has seen improvement from his team and believes that they are on the cusp of breaking into the win column, which will give his team momentum and something to build on.
"I just want them to finish strong and continue to improve," McCarroll said. "We've got five games left and hopefully we can get a 'W', then they'll know how it feels."
Luers 0-3-5-3, Shigo 1-0-1-3, Shivone 0-0-0-0, Lesher 1-0-0-2, Frey 2-1-2-7, Quinn 3-2-4-9, Pereira 2-0-1-4, Koma 0-0-0-0, Hay 1-2-2-4, Buck 0-0-0-0, Achterman 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 11-9-16-34.
Rottet 1-0-0-3, Chartier 4-2-3-11, Krell 1-0-1-2, Frantz 2-0-0-4, Wargula 3-7-7-13, Kehl 1-0-0-2, MacDonald 0-0-0-0, Marcin 1-1-2-4, Ty Skripko 0-0-0-0, Kosciolek 6-4-6-17, Trevor Skripko 1-0-0-2, Blaker 2-0-0-5, Minchoff 1-0-1-2, Hartung 2-0-0-6, Murphy 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-14-21-71.
Palmerton 13 7 7 7 - 34
Tamaqua 19 15 20 17 - 71
Three-pointers: Palmerton - Frey 2, Quinn 1; Tamaqua - Hartung 2, Rottet 1, Chartier 1, Marcin 1, Kosciolek 1, Blaker 1.