Rosahac leads Thorpe past Tamaqua
Noah Rosahac makes a “big” difference when he’s in the Jim Thorpe lineup.
Friday night against Tamaqua, Rosahac took his difference making to another level.
The Olympians’ 6-6, 270-pound junior center set career highs with 28 points and 20 rebounds as Jim Thorpe pulled out a 61-53 overtime victory.
It was a huge victory for the Olympians, who are battling for their postseason lives as far as both the Schuylkill League and District 11 are concerned.
“This was a big win for us,” said Jim Thorpe coach Jason McElmoyle. “Every game for us is like a Super Bowl right now. We need all the wins we can get and tonight Noah did everything he could to make sure we got this one.
“We are a different team with him in the lineup. He does so much for us. It’s not just his scoring and rebounding, but he does a great job in our halfcourt offense of coming out and getting the ball to relieve pressure, and he’s also a very good passer when he gets the ball in the high post. He made all the plays tonight.”
The Olympians needed every point, rebound and assist Rosahac could provide to fight off Tamaqua.
“I’ve never had a game with those kind of numbers,” said Rosahac when told after the game of his scoring and rebounding totals. “I think 17 is the most points I’ve ever had in a game and I think I had 16 rebounds against Panther Valley earlier this year, but tonight’s numbers are definitely career highs for me.
“We knew how big of a game this was for our playoff hopes, and I just wanted to do everything in my power to help us get the win. I’m just glad we were able to get it.”
Behind Rosahac’s first-half double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds), Jim Thorpe held a commanding 33-15 advantage at halftime.
But Tamaqua went on a torrid shooting spree in the second half to get back into the game. In the third and fourth quarters, the Blue Raiders went 15-for-19 (79 percent) from the field, including 6-for-8 (75 percent) from three-point range.
That lights-out shooting display was capped by late three-pointers from Noah Mateyak and Connor Dillon that tied the score at 51-51.
“Another slow start killed us tonight,” said Tamaqua coach Jim Barron. “We dug ourselves a huge halftime deficit, came out with more defensive intensity in the second half, then started hitting some threes, and we found a way to make it a game. I’m proud of our fight in the second half, but we can’t keep putting our backs against the wall with slow starts.
“Tonight, we had chances to pull it out, but ultimately we didn’t have enough to overcome Rosahac. He was phenomenal. Every time they needed a big basket or rebound or foul shot, he seemed to be the one getting it.”
After Dillon’s thee-pointer tied the game with 1:16 left in regulation, Thorpe tried to play for the last shot, but Tamaqua’s Cameron Lewis came up with a steal in the closing seconds to give his team a chance to win. The Raiders had a baseline out-of-bounds play with :04 left, but this time it was Thorpe with the strong defense as it denied Tamaqua a shot and forced overtime.
Tamaqua’s hot shooting ended in the extra period as it went 0-for-8 from the field. Meanwhile, Andrew Warner came up with a pair of driving layups for the Olympians to help them gradually pull away.
“I’m really proud of our entire team, “ said McElmoyle. “We got off to a bad start to the season and have had some really rough injuries, but they keep battling and battling. Noah was outstanding tonight, but without some big plays by Andrew (Warner) and all the other guys who saw action tonight we don’t win this.”
NO COINCIDENCE ... Rosahac missed the first six games of the season as the Olympians went 1-5. Since his return they are 8-5.
PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS I ... Jim Thorpe (9-10, 5-6) needs to win two of its final three games to qualify for districts. The Olympians also still have an outside shot at catching Pottsville and grabbing the final Schuylkill League playoff berth in Division 1.
PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS II ... The loss leaves Tamaqua (8-11, 4-7) with no margin for error in its district playoff quest. The Raiders must win their final three games (Pine Grove, Panther Valley and Blue Mountain) to earn a berth.
ANOTHER INJURY ... After losing leading scorer Kaiden Herron to a season-ending injury a couple weeks ago, Thorpe lost the services of Josh Spruill to a leg injury late in the third quarter. Spruill, who had 10 points in the game, never returned to the court.
Spruill 3-3-4-10, Warner 6-0-0-13, Goldberg 0-1-2-1, DiSanto 3-0-1-7, Curran 0-0-0-0, Barile 0-2-3-2, Selby 0-0-0-0, Roshac 10-8-12-28. TOTALS: 22-14-22-61
Ansbach 0-0-0-0, Lewis 2-0-0-6, Mateyak 6-0-1-15, Klein 0-0-0-0, Styka 0-0-0-0, Milot 2-0-0-5, Kane 2-0-0-4, Dillon 6-3-6-16, Ligenza 3-0-1-7, Andrews 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-3-8-53
Jim Thorpe 21 12 10 8 10 - 61
Tamaqua 10 5 22 14 2 - 53
Three-pointers: JT - Spruill 1, Warner 1, DiSanto 1. Tamaqua - Mateyak 3, Lewis 2, Milot 1, Dillon 1, Ligenza 1.