By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girls’ basketball team built an early lead on the road and never looked back cruising to a 33-point, non-conference win over Okaw Valley in Bethany last Monday the 17th.
Coach Tim Kohlbecker’s squad scored early and often in transition feeding off a dominating defensive effort that limited the host Lady Wolves to just seven points in the first half and 14 points total. The Warriors hit just under 40 percent from the field, forced 24 turnovers, 14 of which resulted in steals.
“As a team we did a much better job rebounding which has been a focus in practice,” quipped coach K. “Offensively we moved the ball with purpose, which led to higher percentage shooting.”
Natalie Bates scored and was the catalyst offensively in the first quarter. The speedy senior guard attacked the rim off the dribble scoring six of her game high 15 points before the first buzzer. She also found classmate Lexie Russo on a fast break midway through the period as the Warriors jumped out by nine points, leading 12-3 after one. Bates hit 7 of 13 from the field, scoring a game high 15 points. She banged the boards for six rebounds.
The other half of one of the most explosive backcourts in the area, Brynn Tabeling, was strong on both ends as well. The super soph hit an early runner in the second period, swiped two of her game high four steals in the first four minutes of the frame, and found Russo twice in the low post, helping to putting Tuscola up by 21 at the break at 25-4. Russo scored 13 points and grabbed a game high eight rebounds while Tabeling donated four points and three rebouds.
Russo and her younger sister Marissa did the lion’s share of the damage after the break. The senior tallied five points in the third, and the sophomore dropped in six points in the fourth en-route to an eight-point effort that included an offensive put back and five rebounds. Another pair of siblings Grace and Hope Dietrich added to the team’s totals as well combining for two points, two assists, two steals and six rebounds.
“Grace was strong on the boards for us tonight,” stated the coach. “Her effort away from the ball is outstanding.”