By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girls’ basketball team collected a big early season victory over one of the area’s top programs this past week at home downing a good Central A&M team 48-43. Coach Tim Kohlbecker’s squad utilized the three ball to jump out to a quick lead then withstood a late Raider charge to secure the Central Illinois Conference victory improving to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the league.
Monday, Dec. 11
Central A&M-43; Tuscola-48
Kohlbecker saw three of his players reach the double figure mark and one just miss by hitting 46 percent of their shots from the field on 20 of 46, including 5 of 11 from outside the arc. The Russo sisters Cassie and Lexie resided at the top of the scoring chart when the dust settled combining for 28 points, each adding 14 points to their season stat sheet. Next up was senior Alexis Koester with 12 points thanks to a near perfect 4 of 5 from three-point land. Grace Dietrich ventured into the three-point territory as well and also drove to the hoop finishing the night with eight points. Natalie Bates fed the well-oiled offensive machine accounting for a game high six assists. The scrappy guard did some damage in the paint as well hauling in six rebounds.
Dietrich was the recipient of a Bates’s pass on the first possession of the contest handing Coach K. the lead on the first possession, one that the ladies in black and gold would never relinquish. C. Russo then scored in the paint, which opened up the outside for a three by Dietrich and a pair by Koester as Tuscola started the game on a 13-3 run. Koester followed with another trey, then Bates found Russo on the baseline for a bucket helping the Warriors to a 17-8 advantage after one period of play.
A&M turned up the heat on the defensive end in the second frame allowing just two field goals while stepping it up on offense narrowing the lead to four entering the break. Koester hit her third three of the game midway through the quarter, and L. Russo found her way to the line for both ends of a one and one and scored late on a runner to keep Tuscola in front 24-20 entering the break.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Dec. 20 edition of The Tuscola Journal.