By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girl’s basketball team boasts five seniors this season. About a month ago those five feared they would never take the court in their final year at TCHS due to the pandemic. That all changed abruptly at the end of January and head coach Tim Kohlbecker’s elder statesman hit the ground running collecting five wins in their first two weeks of their senior campaign. Laney Cummings, Hope Dietrich, Hannah Hornaday, Marissa Russo and Brynn Tabeling are making the most of their time on the floor and are enjoying every minute of it.
All five had sports seasons cancelled last spring so when they celebrated senior night this past Thursday they were all smiles under the masks they have to wear while on the floor. Kohlbecker sent them all out at the start of the game and rode them almost the entirety of the first quarter in a 50-36 victory over Shelbyville. “It’s so important that we were able to have senior night, even if it was early in the season,” stated the coach. “The girls know we can’t take anything for granted, it’s a privilege just to play.”
Dietrich who did a little bit of everything in the game tallying seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals hit a three and Russo finished off a feed from Tabeling as the two CIC foes traded baskets throughout the first frame. Tabeling followed with a field goal but the Rams scored late in the quarter coming out on top 10-8 at the buzzer.
Early in the second Russo was the recipient of two more lobs down low and finished off both of them. Tabeling found her first and then Ella Boyer located her before the sophomore guard stepped outside to hit a deep three from the H in the Home of the Warriors logo on the court all leading to a two point Tuscola advantage at the half 19-17.
Russo led all with 17 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Tabeling scored 11 points while dishing out a game high six assists. The guard ventured outside the arc for a three to open the third, then took one of her four steals coast to coast on the Rams ensuing possession putting the Warriors up by three at the under five timeout. She hit one more bucket late in the stanza keeping Tuscola on top heading to the fourth in front by four 31-27.
Two straight Ram baskets to open the final period forced Kohlbecker to use a timeout with it knotted at 31. His strategy worked, halting the Rams momentum after he cranked up the heat on the defensive side of the floor forcing bad shots by the visitors, which in turn led to Warrior rebounds. Hornaday and Cummings both came up big on the boards in the quarter. Hornaday finished the night with five rebounds and three steals while Cummings banged her way to a game and career-high 13 boards. Boyer then shut the door, draining three threes in the final four minutes of action, keeping the Warriors unbeaten on the year moving to 5-0 on the season.
“Unfortunately we came out flat and not with the energy I am used to seeing. I could have forced the tempo with more first half pressing, but I know we have to somehow be able to run zone offense in the half court without relying on steals and turnovers, so I did minimal pressing so we could work on our offense. In the second half we cut them loose and Tabeling came out with defensive fire that ignited everyone.”
Sydney Moss turned in a double-double in the JV’s fifth victory of the season as well. Moss delivered 12 points and ten rebounds in the 47-38 win. Zoey Thomason was next up with nine points, then it was Harley Woodard who added seven points and four rebounds to her season totals, followed by Marissa Boyer and Molly Macaulay who combined for nine points and four rebounds.