By Lenny Sementi
The Warriors rode the hot hands of Jalen Quinn, Brayden VonLanken, and Grant Hardwick to their biggest win of the year as of yet last Tuesday the 11th. Tuscola upended a once beaten Heritage-Villa Grove team on its home court in a battle of Douglas County heavyweights. The Hawks came out on the right side of the score board the last few years and were favored entering the contest. Quinn and the boys had other plans however.
“We put a big emphasis on this one,” commented coach Justin Bozarth. “VGH has had our number the last four years, so it was nice to come away with a win on their floor. We didn’t think it was our best outing in regards to turnovers and free throw shooting, but our effort down the stretch was outstanding.”
The freshman guard was strong out of the gate hitting an early three and putting one back on the offensive end as the two teams traded leads three times in the first quarter that ended all knotted at twelve’s. Seniors VonLanken and Luke Sluder donated to the cause, as well, each hitting an early bucket. Quinn led all Warriors with 16 points on a 4 of 13 effort from the field that included two threes and 6 of 10 from the charity stripe.
It was more of the same in the second frame as the two teams took turns in front and entered the break with just one point apart with VGH up 27-26. Hardwick came off the bench firing, hitting a three with just one minute gone in the period, and Will Little followed it up late with a three of his own. Little was good on 1 of 1 from the arc, grabbed three rebounds, dished out three assists, and swiped four steals to lead the defense.
Heritage forged ahead on the back of an eight-point run to open the third, despite a big effort from Hardwick. The sophomore drove the hoop time after time in the period and found him self at the line where he made 4 of 4, but it was not enough as the Warriors failed to score from the field in the stanza falling behind by eight heading to the fourth down 40-32.
VonLanken brought the Warrior faithful to their feet finishing off an old fashioned three, and they stayed standing as Quinn took his third steal coast to coast for a bucket on the Hawks’ next possession. Little followed hitting both ends of a one and one after a steal cutting it to one with just under five minutes left on the clock.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Dec. 19 edition of The Tuscola Journal.