Raiders capture tournament title
Emma Kuczynski of Tamaqua tries to avoid a steal effort by East Stroudsburg South’s Gabi Vazquez. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Tamaqua loves playing in its tip-off tournament.
For the third straight year, Tamaqua Athletic Director Mike Hromyak will need to find more space in the trophy case following a season-opening tournament championship.
The Blue Raiders got off to another flying start to open the season, mashing East Stroudsburg South, 69-30 on Saturday afternoon.
This time around, however, there is a different feel for the Raiders. They have confidence, they have another year of experience, and they’re more focused for the long run.
“We’re determined to get better each time we go out on the floor,” said Emma Kuczynski, who scored 17 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.
But, it’s not just about the junior jumping jack when it comes to this season’s Tamaqua team. The supporting cast and the bench are also improved.
“We’re getting more kids involved early,” said Raider coach Erika Davis. “We know that it’s a long season, and we have to develop other players. So we’re not afraid to put in some of our reserves.”
One of the key catalysts for the Raiders is veteran forward Emily Titus, who scored 14 points. Titus caught fire in the middle of the second quarter using just about every shot in her array to score 10 straight points. She hit a mid-range jumper from the foul line extended, buried a pair of baseliners, and went to the bucket using her left hand to put her team ahead 35-17.
“It’s a balanced offense,” said Davis. “We have a few girls who can score any time down the floor, but we still want to create a defensive (tempo). Our defense is going to be called on when we get into divisional play.”
There was never any doubt of the outcome by the time the second half kicked in. Tamaqua roared to a 45-17 lead in the first two quarters, and blitzed in front 61-26 after three quarters.
“It’s so much fun,” smiled Kuczynski “We’ve been playing together so long we know each other very well. We really want to make everyone a focal point of the team.”
OFF AND RUNNING … The Raiders love to turn it loose and run the floor. What this team is short on in height they make up for with quickness and speed.
SOLID DUO … The guard tandem of Jamie Zuber and Sophia Boyle create a lot of pressure in the backcourt. Boyle, who comes off the bench, had five steals and sank a career high 11 points. Zuber scored seven points and added five assists.
SHE CAN DO IT … Rebekah Hromyak can score the basketball, as she gives the Raiders a viable outside threat.
EAST STROUDSBURG SOUTH
Frame 0-0-0-0, Lanitra 1-0-0-2, Hernandez 0-0-0-0, Parkins 0-0-0-0, Kross 0-0-0-0, Cole 3-2-2-8, Laneice 0-0-0-0, Anderson 4-1-4-9, Boushell 0-0-0-0, Day 1-0-2-2, Bostic 1-0-0-3, Williams 1-0-0-2, Tine 0-0-1-0, Davy 2-0-3-4, Idehan 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 13-3-13-30
Kane 1-0-0-3, Zuber 2-2-2-7, Hromyak 2-0-0-6, Jones 2-0-0-4, Boyle, 5-0-0-11, Titus 5-4-6-14, Hope 1-0-0-2, Frederickson 2-0-2-4, Kuczynski 6-3-4-17, Reinhardt 0-1-2-1, Frederick 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 26-10-16-69
ES South 9 8 9 4 - 30
Tamaqua 21 24 16 8 - 69
Three-pointers: ESS - Bostic 1 . T - Kuczynski 2, Hromyak 2, Kane 1, Zuber 1, Boyle 1.