Tamaqua captures Tip-off tourney
Tamaqua’s Rebekah Hromyak (10) drives past East Stroudsburg South’s Safiya Parkins. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
For the fourth consecutive year, it’s in the win column.
And while it may not have been a masterpiece, anytime you chalk up a victory, that’s what counts.
Sure, the kinks are still evident, but all signs say this season is a go for the Tamaqua girls basketball team.
The Blue Raiders rolled past East Stroudsburg South, 57-39, Saturday afternoon to retain the Tamaqua Tip-off tournament title and improve to 2-0.
Head coach Erika Davis found her team taxed for a half, before getting the engine warmed up en route to the victory.
“We must get better each and every game, and each and every practice,” said Davis.
“The more we face (bumps) it’s best for us. (East Stroudsburg South) was very athletic and they brought it to us … I liked the way (we) battled back in the second half.”
The Cavaliers were throwing more wrenches into the cog, and their coach said his team has been working on a hybrid defense.
“Obviously, we focused on (Emily) Titus and (Emma Kuczynski),” said South mentor Adam Kole, identifying Tamaqua’s two primary players.
“It’s a nice team, but it’s not just a two-player team; but that was where our focus was. We put some hybrid stuff in and (our) girls did very well … but as we rotated more bodies in, the concept dissolved a little bit.”
To be sure, East Stroudsburg’s Kole knew Tamaqua would be a difficult out in any league.
“They are tough kids, hard-nosed, and if you don’t rebound strong and don’t pass the ball strong, they’ll make you pay for it.”
The Cavs were buoyed by their bigs inside — mainly Kaylan Davy, a physically imposing player at 6-0. She kept charging inside and using her size to post up for early buckets.
“We really got caught up with that size,” said Davis. “We needed to start to front (Davy) more and play a lot better defense, which I thought we did in the second half. Her size was causing us problems.”
Tamaqua spread the offense around in the first quarter with Kuczynski knocking down two triples. Titus bagged a pair of wing shots, but were matched evenly thanks to Davy, who scored 11 of her team’s 13 first-quarter points to forge a tie.
Even after the Raiders got back-to-back buckets from Titus and Kuczynski early in the second quarter, South sprinted to a 19-17 lead thanks to a four-point hand from Laneice Williams. Tamaqua then turned to Kuczynski, who ended with a game-high 21 points, including the final eight of the second frame to build a 25-19 halftime advantage.
That flurry seemed to be the kicker for the Raiders, who came out smoking in the third. After extending the margin to 10, they delivered the knockout punch with a 6-0 run. Titus finished the rally with a bucket as she scored half of her 12 points in the period, helping her side to a commanding 41-27 lead.
“I liked the way we played from late in the second to the third,” said Davis. “Our intensity was much better; we looked much better than at the start of the game.”
BY THE NUMBERS … The Raiders had three players in double figures. Kuczynski registered a double-double with 21 points and 18 rebounds, and added seven steals. Makenna Kane came off the bench to score 14 points, and Titus had 12.
UP NEXT … Tamaqua hosts Shenandoah Valley Tuesday and Kutztown on Thursday.
THIRD PLACE ... In the consolation game, Dieruff defeated Catasauqua 37-26.
Williams, H. 0-0-0-0, Williams, Lani. 1-0-0-2, Williams, Lane. 2-0-0-4, Parkins 2-0-0-4, Cole 0-0-0-0, Anderson 3-0-0-6, Dorce 2-1-1-6, Scott 1-0-0-2, Day 1-0-0-2, Boushell 0-0-0-0, Tine 0-0-0-0, Davy 5-3-3-13, Davis 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-4-4-39.
Meckes 0-0-0-0, Kane 5-1-2-14, Zuber 0-0-0-0, Hromyak 0-2-2-2, Jones 0-0-0-0,Titus 6-0-0-12, Wingler 0-0-0-0, Hope 1-0-0-2, Frederickson 2-2-2-6, Kuczynski 9-1-2-21, Reinhardt 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-6-8-57.
ES South 13 6 8 12 - 39
Tamaqua 13 12 16 16 - 57
Three-pointers: ES South - Dorce 1; Tamaqua - Kane 3, Kuczynski 2.