By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s pool at the Monticello Holiday Hoopla Tournament was no Christmas present. The Warriors opened the tourney with the preseason number one in 1A and then played the state Class 2A home squad in their second contest. Coach Justin Bozarth’s team fell in the opener to once beaten Ridgeview 62-44 then fell to the host Sages in the nightcap 55-25.
Game one Purple Pool
Tuscola 44; Ridgeview 62
The Warriors went toe to toe with the Mustangs in a first frame that included five lead changes. Four players in all scored for Tuscola in the initial eight minutes en-route to a 13-point frame that saw the Mustangs take a late lead on pair of free throws putting them in front by three 16-13. Tyler Meinhold hit two jumpers early, while Braydon VonLanken and Cale Sementi were big early down low with a bucket each. VonLanken led all Warriors with a team high 14 points on 4 of 6 from the field.
Meinhold hit his first three to start the second, and Sementi put one back. But, turnovers were costly in the frame as the Mustangs scored on back-to-back-to-back fast breaks off miscues, which fueled an 11-point run that proved to be the difference in the game pushing the lead to ten. Sementi scored in the paint to stop the bleeding, and Meinhold hit a three; but a three at the buzzer by the Mustangs put them up by 13 points entering the break. Meinhold tallied 11 points on 4 of 10 from the field, including three treys. Sementi was next up with six points on 3 of 5 from the floor.
Meinnhold hit his third three of the game early in the third, and VonLanken drove the lane twice–finishing off once with a bucket and once at the line by hitting both at the stripe after drawing a foul as both teams settled in defensively in the physical second half. Each time the Warriors went on a run cutting it to under ten Ridgeview answered with one of their own securing the first round victory. Tuscola was strong on the boards grabbing 33 rebounds to the Mustangs’ 26.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Jan. 3 edition of The Tuscola Journal.