By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girls’ basketball team continued its defensive onslaught to remain unbeaten in 2019, limiting a good Warrensburg-Lathem to just 27 points in a 39-27 victory over the Lady Cardinals. Coach Tim Kohlbecker and his ladies in black showed no signs of weariness after the long bus ride west as they smothered the home squad in the first half limiting them to just three field goals en-route to a 20-6 advantage at the break.
Natalie Bates led all in the scoring department hitting 6 of 11 from the floor including 2 of 2 from the free throw line and a three pointer. Next up was senior classmate Grace Dietrich who ended the night with seven points on 3 of 7 shooting. Dietrich’s point totals continue to rise as the Lady Warriors push through the second half of the season. The shooting guard is finding her way to the basket and to the line. The Russo sisters, Lexie and Marissa, added to the offense as well tossing in four points each while also leading the way on the boards garnering 10 and 7 rebounds, respectively. Lexie hasn’t posted less than double digits boards in any one game since the calendar turned to 2019.
“Lexie has been very strong on the boards all season long but has taken it to the next level as of late,” commented Coach K. “Marissa joined the party with her sister under the basket and gives us a big boost at the hoop off the bench.”
Tuscola limited the Cardinals to just six shots in the first frame and four shots in the second, allowing six points total, including a mere two in the second eight minutes of action. Grace Dietrich and Bates pressured out front as did point guard Brynn Tabeling. In all, six players recorded steals for the Warriors, who swiped six balls in the first half including a pair by Bates in the first frame and two more from Dietrich in the second. The duo added three steals apiece to their season rap sheet.
Bates found freshman Sophia Kremitzki down low early for a bucket, drained a pair of runners and a short jumper helping the Warriors to 13-4 lead after one. Dietrich took a swing pass from Tabeling to the hoop at the five-minute mark in the second, and Abbey Jacob hit a late jumper helping the Warriors build a 20-6 lead the break.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Jan. 16 edition of The Tuscola Journal.