By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola jumped right into Illinois’ version of March Madness wasting no time in dismantling Georgetown-Ridgefarm in the opening round of the Broadlands Heritage Regional where they disposed of the Buffaloes in dominating fashion 75-44.
Coach Justin Bozarth is hoping it’s a sign of things to come as the Warriors posted their best offensive quarter of the season racking up 31 points in the initial eight minutes of the game. Seven players scored in the first stanza with freshman Jalen Quinn leading the way with nine points.
The Warriors blew it open with a 15-point run three minutes into the first quarter leaping from a 7-5 lead to a 27-5 advantage in less than five minutes of action. All 15 points were scored following steals as the Warriors didn’t allow the Buffaloes to even get off a shot.
“As a staff we loved our approach at the start of the game by the guys,” commented the coach. “We shared the ball extremely well, and when the ball moves like it did you get great looks at the basket allowing us to shoot at a very high percentage. We jumped out to an early lead and never let them get back into the game, it was a great start to the postseason.”
Quinn totaled 18 points in the game on 7 of 12 from the floor and drained a pair from three-point land. He was also strong defensively, swiping four steals. Joining him in the thievery was Will Little. The senior came up with four steals, as well, scoring twice during the run in the first, once going coast to coast to the hoop and once hitting a wide open pull up three. Jacob Kibler was tops in the scoring column when it was all said and done with 19 points, connecting on 75 percent of his shots from the field.
Tuscola also crashed the boards on the rare misses in the first and second frames. Brayden VonLanken came up with three of Tuscola’s 23 rebounds all of which were on the offensive end where the big man quickly turned them into points. Quinn had an early trey in the second and Kibler and his junior classmate Ben Dixon ended it with threes of their own, helping the Warriors cruise into half on top 49-13. Dixon added eight points to the stat sheet while grabbing a game high nine rebounds.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Feb. 27 edition of The Tuscola Journal.