By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola boys’ basketball team traveled to Arcola for the annual Cola Wars game and came away with a hard fought 44-37 victory in a low scoring affair.
The two teams traded points the entire first half, but, following the break, coach Justin Bozarth’s squad took full advantage of the Riders press by scoring 18 points mostly on the run in the pivotal frame.
Tyler Meinhold and Dalton Hoel led the way for Tuscola in the scoring department combining for 23 points by scoring 13 and 10, respectively. Meinhold changed it up a little as the Warriors’ deep ball threat drove to the hoop for a 6 for 10 effort from the floor, though that did include a three ball late in the third. Hoel drove the lane as well, which earned him time at the charity stripe. The senior guard didn’t have a field goal in the game but took six trips to the free throw line connecting on 10 of 12, including two to open the game on a technical assessed to the Riders in pregame. Luke Sluder was tops on the boards with eight to his credit. Defensively, Meinhold checked in with a team leading three steals by taking two coast to coast for scores, while Cale Sementi swatted three balls under the hoop.
Talking about defense it showed up early with Sluder and Meinhold both taking steals the length of the court for points late in the first quarter helping the Warriors secure a two-point lead heading to the second on top 8-6. Arcola opened the second with a four-point run to take the lead, but buckets by Noah Woods, Sluder, and Sementi squelched the fire. Hoel remained perfect from the line draining a pair, but a pair of baskets by the Riders in the final seconds netted them the lead entering the break in front by one, 19-18.
Meinhold opened the third strong and closed the door at the end of the frame. He hit a pair of runners early then stepped outside the arc late in the quarter and sandwiched in the middle was two more buckets. Arcola pressed to open the second half, and Tuscola ran and ramped up its defense putting up 18 points in the frame. Sluder had a big put back late, and Braydon VonLanken ended the period with an old fashioned three on a drive giving the Warriors a 36-28 lead entering the final eight minutes of action.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Dec. 27 edition of The Tuscola Journal.