By Lenny Sementi
Central Illinois Conference-leading St. Teresa’s Lady Bulldogs entered historic Tuscola gym and slid out the back door with a win to remain unbeaten in the league. Once more, defense ruled the day for Coach Tim Kohlbecker’s crew holding one of the area’s top scoring teams to well under the season average, but the ladies in black and gold came up a few short on the offensive end falling at home this past Thursday by six points, 40-34.
“We gave one of the best teams in central Illinois all they could handle,” commented the coach. “Our defense kept us alive and gave us an opportunity to win, but offensively, we simply missed too many shots around the basket.”
The two teams traded leads six times in the first half and entered the break separated by just one point with St. T in front 20-19. Brynn Tabeling found Lexie Russo in the paint early in the first. Russo then kicked it back out to a wide-open Tabeling who then found the bottom of the net to get things started. The sophomore guard ended things in the first stanza, as well, hitting a three with two ticks left on the clock, giving the Warriors a 9-7 lead at the first horn. Sandwiched in between was a three ball from senior Grace Dietrich. Tabeling was good on 2 of 5 from the field in the game.
The Bulldogs hit an early trey to recapture the lead by Natalie Bates answered with a coast-to-coast jaunt following a steal on their next possession to knot it back up at 12’s. Bates and Tabeling were strong on defense all evening long combining for 13 steals while forcing more than 20 turnovers. Russo did some damage on defense as well collecting two steals in the game to go with her three blocked shots. Two more threes by the visitors, however, led to a 20-14 advantage with just over a minute left in the frame. Two steals by the dynamic duo and a 5 for 6 effort at the free throw line by Bates, Dietrich, and Tabeling down the stretch cut into the deficit and pulled the Warriors to within one at the break down 20-19.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Jan. 23 edition of The Tuscola Journal.