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Raiders pull away from PV

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    Nathan Gregoire of Tamaqua dribbles past Panther Valley’s Erick Marchorro. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published January 14. 2020 12:16PM

Monday night’s Tamaqua-Panther Valley Schuylkill League boys basketball game was a tale of two halves.

The visiting Blue Raiders turned a three-point halftime lead into a 61-43 win, by outscoring PV 22-9 during a dominating third quarter performance.

Led by the inside scoring and rebounding of the brothers Gregoire, Tamaqua spun off a 14 -2 run after the intermission to gain a double-digit edge from which the Panthers could not recover.

“We got good looks in the first half,” said Tamaqua coach Jim Barron, “I thought we shot with more confidence in the second half and being the bigger team, we hit the glass hard.”

Nick Bolletino’s three-point play began a 12-0 Raider run during the first three-and-a-half minutes of the third period. Not until Brandon Stilitino’s two free throws at the 4:30 mark did the Panthers score, and it wasn’t until Erick Marchorro’s running one hander in the lane with 3:25 left in the quarter that the home team had its first basket from the field.

Panther Valley coach Pat Crampsie put the blame squarely on himself for Tamaqua’s second-half success.

“I need to do a better job at the half. We have lost our focus recently in the second halves of games,” said Crampsie. “Our defense breaks down during certain stretches. We watch the ball, instead of getting body-on-body, and we lose too many boards.”

In the first half, PV stood toe-to-toe with the Raiders and trailed by just a bucket after the first eight minutes. The Panthers pushed the ball up court and took an early 10-8 lead on a layup by Blake White, but Nathan Gregiore’s three-pointer with 40 seconds left gave Tamaqua a single-point lead after one.

“We had plenty of good looks at the basket in the first period, but our shots just didn’t fall,” said Raiders’ coach, Jim Barron. “They tried to take Brayden (Knoblauch) out of the game with a box-and-one, but eventually that opened up good shots off the glass for our bigger players.”

After the break, Tamaqua dominated the offensive boards, often getting two or three shots until one eventually fell through. When the Gregoires weren’t scoring inside, Knoblauch, Bolletino, and Nate Boyle were draining three-pointers from the perimeter.

“We shot with confidence in the second half,” said Barron. “We set up plays to get the ball into the low block and use our size to our advantage.”

A 19-6 third period Raider run sealed PV’s fate. The Panthers managed only 10 shots and three baskets from the floor and were never able to cut into their double-digit deficit.

“Our halfcourt game wasn’t bad,” said Crampsie. “On defense, we put the box on Knoblauch because he’s such a smart, savvy player, but we then needed help on Lucas (Gregoire) and he got inside on us.”

In the fourth, Bolletino’s running one-hander in the first minute ballooned Tamaqua’s lead to 52-34. Lucas Gregoire’s layup with 3:40 left gave the Raiders’ their largest lead at 58-34.

“It was all about trusting our game and shooting with confidence that made the difference,” said Barron.

TOP SCORERS ... Tamaqua’s Nathan Gregoire led all scorers with 19 points. Marchorro scored 13 to lead the Panthers.

RECORDS … Tamaqua improved its record to 11-3 overall and 6-1 in league play, and clinched a berth in the district playoffs. PV falls to 8-6 overall and 2-5 in the league.

TAMAQUA

Taras 0-0-0-0. Coleman 0-0-0-0. Verta 0-0-0-0. Knoblauch 6-0-0-15. Bolletino 3-1-1-8. Milot 0-0-0-0. Boyle 1-2-2-5. Sherry 0-0-0-0. Smith 0-0-0-0. N. Gregoire 7-3-4- 19. L. Gregoire 5-4-8-14. Stauffenberg 0-0-2-0. Vanbuskirk 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-10-17-61.

PANTHER VALLEY

Marchorro 6-0-2-13. Gutierrez 2-2-2-8. Stilitino 2-3-4-8. Kraft 0-0-0-0. Eidle 0-0-0-0. Roig 1-0-0-2. Hoben 0-0-0-0. Roth 0-0-0-0. White 3-1-2-8. Juracka 0-0-0-0. Turner 2-0-0-4. Hood 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-6-10-43.

Tamaqua 11 15 22 13 61

Panther Valley 10 13 9 11 43

Three-pointers: Tamaqua – Knoblauch 3, Bolletino 1, Boyle 1, N. Gregiore 2. Panther Valley - Marchorro 1 Gutierrez 2, Stilitino 1, White 1.

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