By Lenny Sementi
It wasn’t quite where they wanted to end up when Tuscola’s boys’ basketball team entered the week-long Central Illinois Conference Tournament, but a 2-1 record and third place hardware left more than a few smiles on their faces. The Warriors rebounded from a 54-32 semi-final loss to state ranked Central A&M with a 43-35 victory over a surging St. Teresa squad Saturday, Feb. 2.
One of those grins was on the face of senior Cade Kresin. Most people probably only noticed his second half offense, but the Warrior swingman was a pivotal piece of the Warriors defense slowing down St. Teresa’s high scoring post Austin Fitzpatrick. Kresin delivered six points on a perfect 3 for 3 from the field, four in the second half, including a bucket in the waning seconds of the contest that ultimately sealed the deal on the victory. He also found his way to five rebounds, a steal and a game and career high three blocks.
“Cade played arguably his best game of the year on Friday,” stated head Coach Justin Bozarth. “We talk all the time about thriving in your role, and Cade definitely did that, he was fantastic defensively guarding their best player in man to man and even in zone forcing him into difficult contested shots.”
Jalen Quinn had a pair of blocks also to go with his game high 20 points. The freshman was good on 6 of 12 from the floor, including 3 of 7 from outside the arc while donating eight rebounds, two steals and four assists to the cause. Despite two straight low scoring outings by the Warriors, Quinn was fifth on the scoring average list out of eight teams at the end of the tournament adding 19.7 points per game in the three-game swing.
“Jalen was really good scoring the basketball this week. As he’s grown comfortable in varsity games, we are starting to see his three-point shooting ability as well. You can see the growth in his offense,” commented the coach. “He’s developing a floater to use over taller/more physical defenders as opposed to trying to get all the way to the rim on those types of guys, as he tried earlier in the year. What we are most pleased with in his offensive game is the trust he’s establishing with his teammates. As he’s drawing extra defenders, he’s making the next pass and trusting his teammates’ ability to shoot and score the basketball.”