By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s version of coach K., Tim Kohlbecker shook up the lineup after a heartbreaking loss at the buzzer to a good Warrensburg squad. He looked to scoring leaders to show the way and Brynn Tabeling and Marissa Russo responded. Tabeling turned some heads with a game, season and career-high twenty-four points that included three treys and a five for seven effort from the line. Russo stood on the double-digit plateau as well adding eleven points to the team totals.
“Brynn had a very good offensive game, especially hitting clutch shots in the fourth quarter and converting at the line. As a point guard, she has a lot of responsibility to run the team and then determine when it’s time for her to attack and score. We’ve been doing quite a bit of shooting in practice and I think it paid off for her.”
The long time bench boss inserted both sophomore Lainey Cummings and Ella Boyer into the first five at the National Trail Conference vs Central Illinois Conference shootout last Saturday. Tuscola drew a strong Cowden-Herrick team sporting a 16-3 record overall in game five of the day. The Warriors bounced back upending Cowden 46-42 holding off a late rally helping the CIC to 6-2 win total on the day. Cummings was strong on defense while Boyer showed some range with a three ball in the third frame on her way to five points.
“This is a good win against a three loss team,” Kohlbecker stated. “We have switched up the starters some the last few weeks, not because anyone person is doing good or bad, but because we are simply trying to find rotations that benefit us in different ways. We are simply trying to find combinations, and, see if someone might play better off the bench and come in and provide a spark.”
Both teams found early offense trading buckets throughout the first frame Tabeling and Russo each scored four points in the period but it was not enough as the Warriors trailed by two points 11-9 at the first buzzer. Defense and the some long-range salvos from Tabeling swung the lead the other direction by the second buzzer. The Warrior guard hit a pair of threes in the frame while the Warriors limited Cowden to just one field goal and five points entering the break with Tuscola in front by two 18-16.
She hit another trey in the third after the half and found both Sophie Kremitzki and Maddie Stahler for short jumpers as Tuscola stepped up its offensive output with a smothering defense that forced five turnovers in the third period. Tuscola scored on three of the four extra possessions opening a twelve-point 35-23 lead heading to the final stanza.
The Warriors survived three threes and a nineteen-point fourth quarter outburst by Cowden thanks to a solid finish at the line by Tabeling. Tuscola gave up a lead two nights earlier in the fourth quarter verse Warrensburg due to struggles at the charity stripe. This time however they survived the late run thanks to a five for six effort at the line by Tabeling in the waning minutes of the game securing the victory over the sixteen-win team from the NTC.