By Lenny Sementi
Brynn Tabeling has been a consistent visitor to the double-digit plateau in the first five girls basketball games for Tuscola this year and last Thursday she reached that and kept climbing. The senior guard erupted for a game-high eighteen points at historic Tuscola Gymnasium leading the Lady Warriors to a big win over Clinton in their Central Illinois Conference opener.
“They are considered a CIC title contender this year, making this a great way for us to start conference play,” coach Tim Kohlbecker said. “Brynn had possibly her best game as our point guard in her career, she was tenacious on defense, had quality shot selection, and ran the offense very well.”
The speedy senior guard was good on seven of eleven from the field including a two for two effort from beyond the arc. She also found her way to three rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. Marissa Russo was next up in the scoring column reaching double digits for the sixth time in six games scoring eleven points on five of nine from the field. She also led all Warriors in the rebounding department grabbing six total four on the defensive end despite exiting the game early due to foul trouble. It was the first time the dominating junior post did not deliver a double-double this season.
Abbey Jacob stoked the fires early with a three ball to open the game and then fed Russo down low helping the Warriors run out to a seven-point lead after one up 13-6. Jacob scored seven points in the game five of which came in the first five minutes of the contest. The senior also helped out in the second frame taking a rebound coast to coast bringing a halt to a five point run by the Maroons midway thru the period. Sophie Kremitzki ended the scoring for Tuscola in first half sinking both ends of a one and one giving the Warriors a six-point cushion at the break over the visitors from the west 26-20. She was very strong defensively as well leading way for coach K. with five steals to her credit. “We put Sophie on one of their better players to match up height wise,” stated the coach. “And she did a great job guarding her and denying the ball at times.”
Tuscola pushed the lead to ten early in the third and kept it there forcing the Maroons to foul in an attempt to get back in the game but the Warriors responded sinking eleven of fourteen from the charity stripe down the stretch including ten in a row at one point. Freshman Ella Boyer hit five of six in the final five minutes of the contest and Hope Dietrich was good on 4 of 4 in the fourth frame. The duo contributed a combined nine points, four steals, three rebounds and three assists.
Tuscola ended a two game skid with the victory moving to 3-3 on the year and 1-0 in the CIC. “We are getting better each night out,” commented Kohlbecker. “Girls like Hannah Hornaday, who gave us strong minutes when Marissa was in foul trouble are giving us quality minutes and what really exiting about it we are no where near as good a I think we can be.”