By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girl’s basketball team stepped up its defense this past week giving up just 45 points total while collecting a pair of wins. Coach Tim Kohlbecker’s group ran past Warrensburg Lathem 48-27 on Wednesday the third and then held Meridian to just 18 points in a 37-point road win a few days later on Saturday. The starters took early exits in both contests never allowing a double-digit frame while on the floor.
Tuscola scored the first 15 points of the game against Warrensburg and ended the first frame in front 17-2 thanks to a smothering defense. Seniors Brynn Tabeling and Hope Dietrich each hit a pair of jumpers and classmate Marissa Russo hit a two as well from under the hoop before finishing off an old fashioned three late in the period. The defensive pressure continued in the second helping Kohlbecker’s crew to a 27-9 lead at the break.
Dietrich and Sophie Kremitzki both drained threes after the half and Ella Boyer finished off both ends of a one-one as the Warriors added to their lead finishing the period on top by 22 points 37-15 ending all hopes of a Lady Cardinal Comeback. Dietrich and Russo led all, each scoring 13 points. The duo combined for nine rebounds, nine steals and six assists. Tabeling was right on their heels scoring in all four frames en-route to 11 points.
Russo kick started the offense with five points in the first at Meridian giving the Warriors a narrow 11-9 lead at the first buzzer. She then found her way to four of her game-high nine steals in the second as the Warriors shut out the Lady Hawks on the offensive end. Tabeling was the catalyst on offense hitting a three ball early while scoring nine of her game high 13 points in the frame leading to a 22 point period by the black and gold putting them up 33-9 at the break. She fell just short of a double-double collecting nine rebounds.
“I’ve been telling the girls to play like every game is their last and they have taken it to heart,” commented Kohlbecker. “Defensively they are flying around the court, and wow, held Meridian scoreless in the second quarter.”
Russo added to her totals with five more points in the third and Dietrich and Kremitzki both hit threes handing coach K. insurmountable 51-13 lead entering the final eight minutes of action. Dietrich hit a pair of threes in the game adding nine points to her season totals and Maddie Stahler checked in with four points in win number three on the year.
Meridians Athletic made the victory even sweeter giving a shout out the Lady Warriors on social media about how they carried themselves. Adding that the girls were polite, up beat and all smiles the minute they walked in the doors.
“I feel like we have a good offensive balance with Ella in the back court with Brynn,” stated the coach. “Sophie and Hope are showing an improved confidence with a willingness to shoot the ball, as a group I feel like we still have more offense in us. I was able to work on some depth in these two games giving everyone some quality minutes.”