By Lenny Sementi
For the second straight season the senior class moved the total wins bar a little bit higher. Cassie Russo and Alexis Koester will say goodbye to TCHS in May but will leave knowing they were the winningest class in program history conquering 90 opponents during their four-year careers. They averaged more than 22 wins per season while capturing three regional titles and back-to-back league crowns their junior and senior years.
They led Coach Tim Kohlbecker’s ‘2018’ team to a 22-5 record overall and an undefeated 7-0 record in the CIC, capping off a perfect two-year 14-0 run and 20-1 mark in the three-year history of the conference.
Russo was the big winner on awards night garnering the team’s rebound award, Warrior Spirit award, and the MVP. She was also named to the first-team All CIC team and was voted to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association’s fourth team. The All Tourney team selection at Monticello’s Holiday Hoopla led in three stat categories scoring 327 points, securing 270 rebound and swiping 101 steals out of her low post position. Koester was a second Team All CIC selection and collected the squads free throw award. She was tops in three point shooting average making 41 percent of her shots from beyond the arc while draining a second best 36 treys.
Tops in the-long range salvos was junior Grace Dietrich with 54 threes. She was just a few tenths back of Koester making 40.6 percent of her threes during the season garnering her first-team All CIC conference honors. Classmate Natalie Bates’ conference season was cut short due to injury as she played in just four of the seven contests, but the human dynamo still impressed being named to the All CIC honorable mention squad and was special mention on the IBCA All State squad despite playing just over half the season. She was also named to the All Tourney squad at the Hoopla and grabbed the team’s Defensive and Warrior Spirit award at the banquet ending the year with a team best 72 assists.
Lexi Russo was another third-year player that made a splash during her junior campaign. The younger Russo scored 212 points and brought down a second best 193 rebounds landing her on the CIC second team. If you’re counting, that’s five players earning all league honors.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, March 14 edition of The Tuscola Journal.