By Lenny Sementi
Dalton Hoel, Tyler Meinhold and Cale Sementi took the floor for their final regular season game in historical TCHS gymnasium this past Tuesday the 13th. The boys in black and gold went toe to toe with one of the top teams in central Illinois on senior night but just couldn’t close the deal. The visiting Panthers were perfect at the free throw line in the final seconds fending off a late surge by the Warriors securing a 44-41 victory.
The three seniors went to work early as Hoel found Sementi in the low post for a basket before Meinhold drilled three as the two teams traded baskets and leads. Meinhold and Sementi led the way on offense scoring 12 and 12 points, respectively, in the game. Meinhold was good on 4 of 12 from the field, with all four makes coming from outside the arc, while Sementi connected on 3 of 4 from the field and 4 of 5 from the line. Brayden VonLanken got into the act early also finishing off two under the rim, one on a feed from Will Little at the top of the key as the Warriors hit 4 of 7 from the field and headed to the second down two 11-9.
VonLanken continued to pound the paint, while Luke Sluder, Jacob Kibler and Hayden Cothron came up big off the bench combining for eight points in the second eight minutes of action giving the Tuscola a three point lead with one minute left in the first half. PBL capped the offense in the second with and old fashioned three to knot the game at 19 entering the break.
Sementi was the man with a plan in the third finishing off an and one to open the frame and a second bucket a few minutes later scoring all six of the Warriors’ points in the quarter. PBL scored their first points of the low scoring frame four minutes into the second half and just kept going by posting a pair of five point runs to take a five-point advantage 30-25 into the fourth quarter.
Kibler went deep for three to start the fourth and Sementi hit both ends of a one and one before Meinhold drained his third three of the game as the two teams raced to the finish. He hit number four with just two ticks on the clock cutting the lead to one forcing the Warriors to foul on the inbounds. PBL answered sinking both free throws and their fans held their breath as a full court shot by Hoel that would have forced an extra frame rimmed out allowing the Panthers to escape with the win. The Warriors won the war on the boards grabbing 30 rebounds, eight more than the Panthers. VonLanken and Sementi led the way hauling in eight each.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Feb. 21 edition of The Tuscola Journal.