By Lenny Sementi
Brynn Tabeling found her way to the free throw line four times late in the third place game of the Central Illinois Conference tournament last Thursday helping the Lady Warriors secure third place beating Clinton in an overtime thriller 51-46. The junior point guard went eight for eight from the charity stripe all of which were in the extra period and her aggressiveness to the hoop paid dividends all game long accounting for a game-high twenty points.
She also shared the wealth dishing out a game high six assists. Marissa Russo was the recipient of four of them in the low post. Russo banged her way to fifteen points and notched another double-double grabbing a game-high eleven rebounds. She was good on three of four from the field in the first frame taking forcing the Maroons to collapse on defense. Tabeling, Hope Dietrich and Abbey Jacob took advantage of the extra room outside each tickling the bottom of the net from beyond the arc handing coach Tim Kohlbecker a 15-12 lead after one. Dietrich scored five points in the game and secured eight rebounds.
Sophie Kremitzki came up big in the long ball early in the second frame and the Lady Warriors turned up the heat on defense limiting Clinton to just four points in the frame making it 24-16 Lady Warriors heading to the break. She did a little bit of everything donating eight points, three assists and three steals to the cause. The Maroons closed the gap in the third with a 10-3 run late and headed to the fourth just one point back 30-29. Clinton entered the final minute of regulation up 40-38 only to watch Russo knot it up with a two for two effort at the line sending it to overtime.
Both teams hit a three early and Clinton hit one late in the extra period but it was Tabeling’s heroics at the free throw line that sealed the deal on the win. The Warriors were good on twelve of fourteen from the stripe after the break making every Maroon foul hurt even more.
“That’s a quality team win in which we showed heart and guts, coming back from six down late and winning in OT,” Kohlbecker commented. “Brynn had ice in her veins at the line down the stretch and Marissa and Hope were warriors on the boards. Sophie did a nice job on the defensive end for us and Abbey did things defensively late in the game that most wouldn’t notice. She is a very smart ball player. We shot well from the arc finally, and we need to because teams are packing it in around the hoop to stop Marissa.”
Tuscola fell a few days earlier on Tuesday to state ranked Sullivan in the semi-finals 46-29. The Lady Warriors went toe to toe with the Redskins throughout the game but a rough night shooting overall (24 percent from the field) and a one for eleven outing at the arc was too much to overcome. Sullivan methodically built a lead as the game progressed which ended in a victory and spot in the championship game.
Tabeling was again strong at the line going six for six in the second half going fourteen for fourteen in the final two games of the tourney. She led all Warriors against Sullivan scoring twelve points, including a three. Russo was next up adding eight points to her season stat sheet. She fell two points short of a double-double hauling in a game-high thirteen rebounds. Dietrich was also strong on the boards grabbing five rebounds while also swiping four steals. Jacob was perfect from the arc hitting her only attempt on her way to five points in the contest.
“I hate losing, but feel our girls found we aren’t that far off from a top ten team in the state,” stated the coach. “We were able to get the shots we wanted, especially early, and really could have been up 10-0 to start the game but some of them just didn’t fall. Once again Marissa and Hope continued to battle on the boards limiting second shots for our opponents and extending possessions for us.”