By Lenny Sementi
Justin Bozarth’s boys’ basketball team jumped out to an early double digit lead and held on behind a very stingy defense that allowed just four points in the first frame and in the end limited Warrensburg-Lathem to their lowest-output of the year. Tuscola dropped the visiting Cardinals Friday, Feb. 9 at home in a low scoring thriller 39-36 collecting the Central Illinois Conference victory.
Haden Cothron led the way with 11 points on 4 of 10 from the field, including three treys. Braydon VonLanken was right on his heels tallying 10 points on 4 of 6 from the floor and 2 of 2 from the line. He also was tops on the rebound list grabbing seven, while Jake Kibler added eight points and seven boards to his season stat sheet.
VonLanken scored eight of his ten points in the first seven minutes of the game helping Bozarth’s crew to an early 13-4 lead at the end of one. The big boy used his partner in the low post Cale Sementi twice as a screen and took a feed from Will Little late in the frame. Tyler Meinhold hit a three early on to help the cause.
Warrensburg cut into the lead with an 11-point outing in the second entering the break down by six points 21-15. Kibler was big in the final five minutes of the frame scoring six points on a 3 for 3 effort from the floor scoring all but two of Tuscola’s eight points in the period. Cothron did his damage after the break hitting a pair of threes in the third and one early in the fourth to keep Tuscola in front heading down the stretch.
Sementi got his money’s worth picking up his fourth foul at the five minute mark in the final frame stopping a scoring opportunity under the hoop, but the Cardinals moved ahead by one 36-35 seconds later. Tuscola answered retaking the lead late 38-36 before Sementi took a charge with under 20 seconds on clock on the ensuing possession, and the Warriors front court of Little, Meinhold, and Cothron ran off the seconds securing the win, while the Warriors defense held the Cardinals scoreless the last five minutes of the contest.
Noah Woods was tops in the scoring department with 14 points in a 40-31 loss in the JV contest while Cole Cunningham checked in with seven points.
It was the second time in a week the Warriors flexed their defensive muscle holding a team to its lowest point total of the year. The outcome was a little different as the St. Teresa Bulldogs rallied at home to upend the defensive minded Warriors 39-37. Tuscola scored the final points in all four frames, but it was not enough.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Feb. 14 edition of The Tuscola Journal.