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Tuscola Lady Warriors basketball remains blemish-free this season

By Lenny Sementi
Brynn Tabeling and her partners in crime tallied forty-three steals last week while delivering three more wins, all on the road, to their stat line moving to 8-0 on the season. They opened the week downing Monticello by twenty 58-38 on Wednesday, then upended Warrensburg-Lathem for the second time this season 58-39 on Thursday before capping it with a thrilling two-point victory over a very good St Joe Ogden 48-46 squad on Saturday. 

Tabeling reached the double-digit plateau in all three contests scoring forty-four points and saved her best for last dropping a season-best eight points and the game winner in the victory at St Joe to close it out. It would have been a four game road trip but a game scheduled for Veterans Day at Central A&M now to be played this week on Wednesday, February 24 was postponed due to weather. 

Tim Kohlbecker’s team opened the week running out to a 14-8 advantage at Monticello on the back of three’s by Hope Dietrich and Ella Boyer. Sophia Kremitzki hit a pair of field goals in the frame as well and scored five more including a three ball in the second quarter helping the Lady Warriors to a 29-15 lead at the break. She scored nine points in the first sixteen minutes of action. 

Dietrich connected twice early in the third fueling an 8-0 run to open the second half pushing it to 37-15 before the under five timeout. The senior wing scored six of her nine points in the stanza. Kremitzki stepped outside the arc once more late in the period before Tabeling and Marissa Russo put them away combining for ten points in the fourth while Tuscola limited the Sages to just two field goals in the last ten minutes of the game sealing the deal on the victory. 

Tabeling provided 15 points, five assists, and five rebounds to the cause while Kremitzki ended the night with 12 points on five of nine from the floor and five rebounds. Laney Cummings and Hannah Hornaday were big off the bench adding five boards each to the team totals. Taylor Musgrave and Ella Boyer did some damage as well accounting for six assists, six rebounds and six points combined.  

“The Monticello game may be our best overall game to that point in time,” stated the coach. “We talked with the team about improving offensive flow and having a better understanding of what we see as a “great shot” within our system. They responded well with 18 assists on 26 baskets. And, our defensive pressure created 14 steals.”

Trip two wasn’t as good assist to turnover ratio but Kohlbecker’s crew made up for it by swiping a season-best 22 steals as the Warriors used buckets by Russo and Tabeling to a 10-1 before the first under five timeout. Kremitzki was the catalyst in the second hitting a pair of threes early in the period leading to a 33-20 Warrior lead as the two CIC combatants headed to the locker rooms at the break. Kremitzki’s forays outside the arc opened the lane for Russo who added ten of her 14 points in the first half alone. She was good on seven of ten from the field and added yet another double double to her resume grabbing a game-high ten rebounds. 

Tabeling found her way to the line in the third finishing off all four of her attempts and Kremitzki drained another triple giving coach K a comfortable twenty-point lead heading to the fourth on top 48-28. Kremitzki was good on three of her six ventures outside the arc in the game delivering ten points. Hornaday was also big after the half, scoring all four of her points in the final two stanzas while grabbing three rebounds. Boyer, Cummings, Dietrich and Musgrave each scored at least four points as the Warriors put nine players into the official scorebook. 

“Marissa gives us another double-double and Laney continues to provide instant energy as our sixth man grabbing five rebounds and plays great defense. She has accepted the role to help our team, she is not concerned about scoring, but rebounds and guards, and does it so well,” quipped coach K.  “ We continued refining our offense and had 17 assists on 23 hoops, an outstanding ratio. Hannah played an outstanding game, she is constantly talking on defense, is always in the right spot, and showed good touch around the rim.”

Dietrich kick started the offense at SJO with a three and five points in the first frame helping Tuscola to a 13-4 lead after one. She followed that up with another trey in the second and got some help from senior classmates Russo and Tabeling who each attacked the paint for two baskets staving off a Spartan charge keeping the Warriors in front at the end of two 29-21. Threes by Tabeling and Kremitzki in the third kept the status quo as Tuscola headed to the final eight minutes of the game up 40-33. 

Tabeling then channeled her inner Ayo, for you Illini fans, scoring all eight points in crunch time including the game winner as the Spartans slowly closed the gap. She hit a runner before the under five timeout but a 7-2 run brought the home team to within a pair down 42-40. From that point one it was a back and forth affair that was decided when Tabeling drove the middle lofted a shot over outstretched Spartan arms that ultimately secured the victory. 

“The game winner was a big time move and a shot, Brynn put it up over a 6’1” girl,” Kolhbecker said. “She was the catalyst for our offense and seems to have a knack to find a way to score at clutch times.” 

Tabeling left the floor with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists and hit four of five from the free throw line. Dietrich chipped in eight points as did Russo, who also grabbed ten rebounds. 

“We knew this would be a battle to the finish, even after we had built an eleven-point lead,” Kohlbecker commented. “Everyone played well and the fact we can go deep into our bench, in every game is crucial this season, especially with minimal practice time with the A&M game change that will pay dividends, counting St. Joe we will play five games in seven days. Laney, Hannah, Taylor and Maddie Stahler are eating up a lot of minutes off the bench.”

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