By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girls basketball team wrapped up its season last week with a state ranked showdown and another venture outside the Central Illinois Conference. The ninth Lady Warriors bounced back from a heartbreaking 51-48 loss to state ranked Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond on Thursday with a come from behind 55-46 victory over Cerro Gordo-Bement on the road to end their season with a 15-3 record overall and a 6-1 mark in the CIC.
“We allowed too many offensive rebounds (13), and turned the ball over way too much (22), to beat a good team like ALAH,” coach Tim Kolbecker stated. “Hope (Dietrich) was the catalyst at Cerro Gordo, I don’t remember having a player score 15 points in one quarter! I was very happy for the team and specifically our seniors, they were not going to finish on a loss, even down double digits I knew we’d come back and win.”
Ella Boyer stirred the pot early with a three in both the first and second frames scoring six of her nine points before the break. Sophie Kremetzki stepped outside the arc for a three as well in the first and Dietrich joined the crowd outside in the second stanza in a back and forth affair that saw six lead changes in the first 16 minutes of action.
Boyer drained her third Trey of the night but ALAH answered with a seven-point run and then backed it up with a six-point run as Tuscola fell behind by double-digits down 41-31 entering the final frame. Tabeling sandwiched an acrobatic drive to the hoop in between the two bursts to limit the damage. She ended the night falling just shy of a double-double with nine points, five steals and five assists to her credit.
Marissa Russo was big late around the hoop scoring six of her 13 points in the final eight minutes to help the Warriors climb their way back and Dietrich hit a three to knot it at 47 with a minute twenty left on the clock. Dietrich scored ten points in the game, grabbed five rebounds and delivered three steals.
The Warriors chose to run the clock and play for the last shot taking a time out with 14 ticks left on the clock to set up the final play. The strategy backfired as the Lady Knights swiped the inbounds and took it coast to coast for the win.
“As a coach you second guess decisions and there are other options always, but what happened is we simply didn’t execute a sideline in bounds play,” Kohlbecker commented. “But one or two plays does not cost a game, it was turnovers and rebounding, nevertheless, still very proud of this team.”
Kohlbecker’s crew trailed at the end of one and the half time break but a 15-point outburst by Dietrich in the third frame and a smothering defense eliminated not only a 12 point halftime deficit but secured a eight point advantage heading to the fourth on top 47-39. Tuscola outscored the Lady Bronco’s 26-5 in the pivotal third frame and never recovered. Dietrich did it all in the stanza shooting the lights out from beyond the arc while also leading the charge on defense taking a steal coast to coast for a layup. She hit four of six from behind the arc in the game, grabbed four rebounds and scored 17 points. Tabeling was her partner in crime adding 12 points to the scorebook along with six assists and ten steals. Kremitzki and Russo were strong in the mid range game combining for 17 points.
“We dug a hole in the first half due to their hot shooting, and our poor shooting (20 percent) and as a team we got away from the type of offense that is best for our team which is sharing the basketball,” coach K. said. “We decided at half to switch to full court man trapping pressure and the game changed precipitously.”