Raiders edge Thorpe in OT
Tamaqua’s Brayden Knoblauch is fouled from behind by Jim Thorpe defenders Caiden Hurley and Adam Lauer. For a video visit www.tnonline.com. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Offensive rebounding isn’t flashy, it isn’t highlighted in the box score and it doesn’t usually make the Hudl highlight reel.
But if a team is really good at it, there’s no denying its impact on the game.
A dominating effort on the offensive boards Friday night, coupled by an overtime comeback, helped Tamaqua escape Jim Thorpe with an important Schuylkill League Division 1 victory, defeating the Olympians 73-71.
The Blue Raiders (13-5, 8-2) held an overwhelming advantage on the offensive boards, getting second and third chance opportunities and making them count. Fittingly, it was also an offensive board by Nate Gregoire that sealed the game for Tamaqua off his own free throw miss with four seconds remaining in OT.
“Our effort on the glass, it was key for us,” said Tamaqua head coach Jim Barron. “I think we did a good job of getting to the rim and if we didn’t score on our first attempt, our guys showcased extra effort to go up there and get the board.
“Nate had the big board at the end of the game, Lucas Gregoire was big for us on the glass, Nate Boyle had a big putback for us. It was a total collective effort on the boards tonight.”
Although the margin was slim, the Raiders were in the lead for the majority of the game, and they hit momentum-boosting shots consistently. In fact, Tamaqua sharpshooter Brayden Knoblauch ended the first, second and third quarters with daggers from three-point land.
But it was the Olympians that continued to hang around throughout the contest. After trailing for most of the fourth, and by as much as six around the 2:30 mark, the Olympians (5-13, 3-7) still stayed within striking distance, closing within two (65-63) with 16.8 seconds remaining.
After a missed Tamaqua free throw, JT had the ball and a side out-of-bounds. After a quick flurry, play resulted in a Chris Condly floater in the paint that bounced straight up off the back of the rim and in with under three seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.
“We’re right there, we’re playing all these good basketball teams tough, we just need a bounce or two to go our way to finish one of these out,” said Jim Thorpe head coach Jason McElmoyle. “But I’m just super proud of my guys, they gave it everything they had and pushed a very good basketball team to the brink. No doubt their size and rebounding hurt us, but I’m still proud of our effort.”
Thorpe not only pushed the Raiders to the brink in overtime, it had them on the ropes. The Olympians got out to a quick 70-65 lead with 2:15 left after a Condly triple to start the period and a nifty David Richards bucket inside.
But the veteran-laden Raiders never panicked. A 10-0 Tamaqua run, including huge back-to-back triples by Nate Gregoire and Nate Boyle, gave the Raiders a three-point lead with just under 10 seconds remaining.
Thorpe was able to get back within two after a made free throw and then fouled Nate Gregoire, putting him on the line with four seconds. But JT wasn’t able to come up with Gregoire’s miss to get another possession.
“Loved our kids resiliency and toughness at the end of the game,” said Barron. “Very easily, we could’ve folded in overtime; we were tired, lost in a dogfight to Mount Carmel the night before, but the kids wanted it. Four seniors on the court, kids who have won a lot of games in all sports in their careers, they really dug in.”
LEADERS ... Big man Lucas Gregoire led the way for Tamaqua with 23 points and 13 rebounds, with six of them being offensive. Knoblauch had a nice night from the outside, scoring 22, and Nate Gregoire chipped in with 15. For Thorpe, James Adames had a big night with a game-high 24 points. Adam Lauer helped out with 18 and Condly added 12.
PLAYOFF HOPES ... Raiders are locked in the district playoffs and put themselves in a great position to grab the wild card spot in the Schuylkill League playoffs. Thorpe is 3-7 in the league and must go 4-0 to finish the season to qualify for the district playoffs.
Knoblauch 6-7-8-22, Bollentino 1–0-0-3, Boyle 4-1-1-10, N. Gregoire 5-3-5-15, L. Gregoire 6-11-14-23, Stauffenberg 0-0-3-0, Lavine 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-22-31-73
Condly 5-0-0-12, Richards 1-0-0-2, Hurley 1-2-4-5, Adames 10-1-2-24, Lauer 4-7-8-18, McHugh 0-0-0-0, Herron 0-2-2-2, Marykwas 3-0-0-8. TOTALS: 24-12-16-71
Tamaqua 16 18 16 15 8 - 73
Jim Thorpe 11 16 19 19 6 - 71
Three-pointers: T - Knoblauch 3, N. Gregoire 2, Bollentino 1, Boyle 1; JT - Lauer 3, Condly 2, Adames 2, Marykwas 2, Hurley 1.