Blue Raiders top Panthers
Tamaqua coach Erika Barron knew some halftime adjustments were needed.
So she tweaked the Raiders’ offense and re-emphasized the game plan.
But the biggest change she wanted to see couldn’t be diagramed on a white board.
“I wanted to see some energy, I wanted to see us play with some fire,” Davis said. “It wasn’t how I was used to seeing Tamaqua basketball teams play, and I let them know it at halftime.
“In the second half, our energy level rose, and our level of play rose with it.”
The Raiders’ response to their coach’s request was obvious.
Tamaqua opened the third quarter with an 8-0 burst that turned a tenuous two-point halftime lead into an eventual 65-45 Schuylkill League blowout.
“Give Panther Valley credit; they played well in the first half, but at the same time it seemed like we were just going through the motions,” said Davis. “I understand it’s a little tougher to find that fire in a near-empty gym, but that’s not an excuse.
“We need to play with passion and energy, whether we’re playing in front of a packed house or an empty gym. In the second half, you saw the difference it makes when you play that way.”
Clinging to a 26-24 lead at the break, Tamaqua’s game plan was apparent in the second half. The Raiders constantly pounded the ball inside and then crashed the boards.
After scoring just two points in the opening half, Serena Jones scored Tamaqua’s first six points of the third quarter. Emma Hope added four points as the Raiders put together a 14-2 run to open a 40-26 lead midway through the period.
“We moved Sophia (Boyle) to the wing and had McKenna Meckes bring the ball up the court,” explained Davis. “We told the girls we wanted to stop settling for jump shots, and pound the ball inside.
“We emphasized taking the ball to the basket and either shooting layups or getting to the foul line. I thought we did a great job of doing that in the second half.”
While Tamaqua (2-0, 2-0) was taking advantage of its inside game, Panther Valley (1-2, 0-1) struggled to convert on its opportunities.
“I thought the story of the game was our inability to convert layups and shots in the paint,” said Panther Valley coach Bill “Dapper” Lynn. “I would guess we missed 20 layups.
“I’m happy with our shot selection, and I’m happy with a lot of things we are doing offensively, but the bottom line is when you get good shots you need to convert a lot more of them then we did tonight.”
After Tamaqua’s fast start to the second half, the teams traded baskets until a 12-0 Raider run midway through the final quarter turned a 51-38 lead into a 63-38 advantage, allowing Davis to clear her bench.
“I wasn’t happy with our start, but overall I saw a lot of things I liked,” said Davis. “I thought we got nice contributions off the bench (reserves Kaziah-Mae Streisel scored 11 points and Trenyce Wingler scored nine points, respectively), and we had outstanding balance (six players had at least nine points).”
OFFENSE BY COMMITTEE ... Streisel and Hope both had 11 points to lead Tamaqua. Wingler, Jones, Meckes and Boyle all added nine. Hope also had 20 rebounds.
ONE GIRL SHOW ... While balance was the theme for Tamaqua, the Panthers’ offense primarily relied on Erika Dubosky. Dubosky scored a game-high 28 points. Madison Maynard added nine.
NUMBERS ... Both teams struggled shooting the ball. The Raiders were 22-for-64 from the floor (34 percent), while the Panthers were 18-for-54 (33 percent). Tamaqua had a 50-35 rebounding advantage, with 25 of them on the offensive end.
Shreffler 0-0-0-0, Krapf 0-0-0-0, Robin 0-0-0-0, Wehr 2-0-0-4, Maynard 4-0-0-9, Vermillion 1-0-0-2, Eidle 0-0-0-0, Dubosky 10-6-9-28, Knoblauch 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 18-6-9-45.
Streisel 4-3-4-11, Kane 3-0-0-7, S. Hope 0-0-0-0, Fannock 0-0-0-0, Jones 3-3-10-9, Meckes 3-2-2-9, Boyle 3-2-2-9, Robb 0-0-0-0, Wingler 3-3-5-9, E. Hope 3-5-6-11. TOTALS: 22-18-29-65.
Tamaqua 15 11 20 19 - 65
Panther Vy. 12 12 8 13 - 45
Three-pointers: Panther Valley - Dubosky 2, Maynard 1. Tamaqua - Boyle 1, Kane 1, Meckes 1.