By Lenny Sementi
Head boys basketball coach Justin Bozarth’s boys in black and gold opened a busy week posting a pair of wins on back to back days unending Arthur-Okaw Christian on Tuesday 67-41 and Shelbyville on Wednesday 72-46. The Warriors notched wins number seventeen and eighteen of the year before collecting just their second blemish of the year falling to a very good Paxton Buckley Loda team 56-39 on Friday.
Tuscola ran out to a 14-0 lead against Arthur-Okaw Christian on the back of threes by Jacob Kibler and Grant Hardwick and never looked back. They carried a 16-3 lead into the second frame and increased to 36-12 by the break. Nick Williams hit three treys in the period on his way to career-best eleven points in the game. Kibler led all with a game-high seventeen points while Jalen Quinn ended his night with fifteen points and a double-double garnering a game-high eleven rebounds. Ben Dixon had a big night on the boards as well checking with nine rebounds. Ben Tiezzi put a bow on top with two three balls in the fourth and career-best eight points.
It was more of the same one night later in a Central Illinois Conference showdown with Shelbyville. Quinn was on full display scoring twenty points in first half alone leading the Warriors to a twenty-point advantage at the break 46-26. The super soph it three treys in the second stanza and ended the night with twenty-eight points on twelve of nineteen from the floor, a game-high nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Williams hit three from beyond the arc as well in the first sixteen minutes of the game posting his second career best point total on back to back outings scoring twelve points on the night. Eight players in all scored for Bozarth, six of which notching a three ball. Haven Hatfield, Hardwick and Cole Cunningham all joined in the party from long range.
A very good Paxton Buckley Loda avenged an earlier loss to the Tuscola in the championship of the Monticello Holiday Hoopla with an inspired 56-39 win a few days later on the Warriors home floor. The two teams traded baskets throughout the first six minutes of the game resulting in a 8-8 tie but a 19-3 run by the Panthers from that point till the break led to a 27-11 Warrior deficit at the break. Quinn broke up the run with a three at the 4:55 mark of the second stanza for Tuscola’s only points of the frame.
Tuscola cut it to seven 29-22 at the midway point of the third thanks to a pair of threes by Hardwick but a 10-2 run to end the period pushed it back to double-digits 40-26 entering the fourth. PBL survived an early offensive effort from Kibler and Quinn responding with another run ending any hope of a comeback. Quinn hit a three early in the frame while scoring seven of his game-high sixteen points in the quarter. Kibler notched six of his eight points in the stanza as well as both were a perfect three for three from the field in the final eight minutes of the game.
“It was definitely a busy week with four games in five days,” stated the coach. “We thought we played really well early in the week and in particular on the defensive end and in the rebounding department both areas we have emphasized in practice as of late. PBL however came in with a sense of urgency and we didn’t match that intensity quick enough. We had and uncharacteristically high number of turnovers in the contest and give credit for that to PBL and their system and scheme.”
Jacob Hilgendorf’s JV squad was a perfect 2-0 beating Arthur-Okaw Christian 53-15, and PBL 49-39. Teizzi and James Boyd each scored ten points in the victory over AOC. Rohan Patel did the damage in the victory over the Panthers scoring a career-best nineteen points, which included a pair of threes and a seven for seven effort at the free throw line. Payton Armstrong and Hatfield were next up each adding seven points to the team totals.