By Lenny Sementi
Ashton Smith shined on senior night taking full advantage of her last game at Tuscola’s gymnasium matching the visiting Meridian Lady Hawks on the scoreboard all on her own in a 46-14 Lady Warrior rout of the Hawks on Monday, Jan. 28.
Smith hit four threes en-route to a game high 14 points on 5 of 7 from the floor and 4 of 5 from three point land.
Classmates Natalie Bates, Grace Dietrich, and Lexie Russo were all smiles, as well, following the Warriors’ 21st victory of the year. Russo was next up in the scoring department dropping in 12 points, while posting a double-double with 11 rebounds in her last game on the home floor of the Warriors. Bates delivered on both ends of the floor adding six points to her season stats, four assists, four rebounds and a game high five steals. Dietrich was strong on the boards as well securing five rebounds and found her way into the passing lanes for four steals.
As always, the Warriors’ defense was smothering, allowing no more than six points total in any one quarter. They gave up just eight points in the first half limiting the Hawks to just two field goals. Smith hit her first three three minutes into the game and drained her second less than a minute later, and Russo converted on a pass from Bates giving the Warriors a 9-4 lead after one.
Russo and Bates combined to score the first seven on the second period to make it 16-4, which allowed Kohlbecker to look to his bench early. Tuscola held the Hawks without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes, giving the visitors little hope of a comeback. Abbey Jacob and Brynn Tabeling added baskets late in the stanza as the Warriors increased their lead to double-digits entering the locker room in front 22-8.
Tuscola blew it open early in the third thanks to eight points by Smith and four points by Russo, which pushed the Tuscola advantage to 26 points at 40-14. That would be all the points the Warriors would allow shutting out Meridian the final eight minutes of the game to deliver the victory.