Tide pulls away from Tamaqua
Tamaqua’s Brayden Knoblauch (11) is defended by Pottsville’s Trevor Sherakas. Behind Knoblauch is the Raiders’ Michael Bonetsky. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Those two words sum up the style of play of the Pottsville basketball team.
The Crimson Tide come at the opposition from every angle with intense defensive pressure that has made them the top dog in the Schuylkill League for more than a decade.
On Tuesday, in an important Division 1 contest against Tamaqua, it was the Tide’s relentless pursuit on both ends of the floor that helped them come away with an 80-41 victory.
Tamaqua played the Tide tough for a quarter and a half, tying up the game at 25 all with four minutes to go in the half. Lucas Gregoire paced the Raiders strong effort with 14 of his team-high 16 points in the first half — eight of which came in the second quarter.
But just as it seemed Tamaqua was going to keep this one close heading into the half, the Tide’s defensive pressure started to wear down the Raiders. Three turnovers in the final four minutes of the half aided a 14-0 Pottsville run. The Tide ended the quarter with three straight triples, including a desperation three from Trevor Sherakas at the buzzer from close to 40 feet.
“I think we got tired. Their pressure definitely affected us,” said Tamaqua coach Jim Barron. “We’re not a very deep team, you can see that’s the major difference between us and them.
“But we need to do a better job defensively. We had some breakdowns in the second and third quarter where they were able to get some open shots, and they knocked them down. We didn’t do a good job rotating defensively, and they took advantage. Also, I think we buried our heads a bit when we got down, and that never helps. We just have to get back to work and get better.”
The Tide (14-2, 9-0) continued their hot shooting in the third quarter, hitting three more triples, including two at the beginning of the frame from Kevin Schenk. Schenk’s shooting helped Pottsville start the third on an 8-0 run as the Tide went 9-for-12 from the field in the quarter.
Tamaqua (11-5, 6-3) wasn’t able to score its first points of the third until the 5:15 mark, and didn’t score its first field goal until 30 seconds remaining in the third.
Pottsville carried a 31-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
“I thought throughout the whole game we got some pretty good looks, we didn’t really hit some of those looks in the first quarter, and then we started to knock shots down after that,” said Pottsville head coach Dave Mullaney. “I thought Tamaqua had some pretty good looks in that first quarter and they hit them, but then I thought our defense was much better in the second half.”
“We came into the game knowing they only play six guys, so we wanted to wear them down, and our depth is key in doing that. The way we play defense, and what we ask our kids to do, you can’t play more than three or four minutes at a time, you’ll just get too tired. We let them know a break is coming, and to just keep giving us everything you got.”
LEADERS ... Mike Bonetsky was the only other double-digit scorer for Tamaqua with 11 points. For Pottsville, Mason Barnes led the way with 17, Schenk added 16 and JR Hahner 15.
OPEN LOOKS ... Pottsville got a lot of open looks from the outside and made them count. The Tide were 13-for-21 from three, and 29-for-47 overall from the field (62 percent).
Schenk 5-3-3-16, Sherakas 3-0-0-8, Barnes 6-2-3-17, Heimbaugh 1-0-0-3, R. Stanton 2-0-0-6, Salata 2-1-2-5, A. Stanton 1-0-0-3, McCord 1-0-0-3, Tobin 1-0-0-2, Dicello 0-0-0-0, Hahner 7-1-1-15. TOTALS: 29-7-9-80.
Bonetsky 4-0-0-11, Stianche 0-2-2-2, Griffin 1-0-0-2, Mateyak 0-0-0-0, Knoblauch 2-0-0-5, Bollentino 0-0-0-0, Zehner 0-0-0-0, Gutierrez 0-0-0-0, Agosti 0-0-0-0, N. Gregoire 1-0-0-2, L. Gregoire 6-4-5-15, Stauffenberg 1-1-2-3. TOTALS: 15-7-9-41.
Pottsville 22 17 24 17 - 80
Tamaqua 17 8 7 9 - 41
Three-pointers: P- Schenk 3, Barnes 3, Sherakas 2, R. Stanton 2, Heimbaugh 1. A. Stanton 1, McCord 1; T - Bonetsky 3, Knoblauch 1.