By Lenny Sementi
Head boys basketball coach Justin Bozarth’s team has dealt with more than a little adversity over the past few weeks but the Warriors bench boss had some good news this past week. Tuscola has been without a senior the past week and a half and last Friday they welcomed back two of them for their final two contests of the season.
Cole Cunningham and Ben Teizzi returned to the floor for the final two contests of the year. Their return and the continuation of Jalen Quinn’s late season scoring outburst combined to deliver back to back wins ending the Warriors abbreviated season with a 13-5 record overall.
Quinn was one of five double-digit scorers in a runaway 78-48 win over a visiting Ramsey team. He scored a game high 25-points in the victory on his home floor and one day later he added a few more tallying 33 points in a 61-52 road win over a very good Cerro Gordo-Bement squad.
Tuscola scored at least 20 points in the first three frames and cleared the quarter century mark in both the second and third quarters in the win over Ramsey. They were deadly from outside the arc delivering 14 treys with eight coming in the first half alone handing Bozarth a comfortable 47-29 lead at the break.
When the two teams returned to the floor it was all Warriors all the time scoring 20 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Quinn hit a three early, dunked a put back late and Brown hit a pair of threes in between helping the Warriors set the clock to running after building a 31-point advantage ending all hopes of a comeback heading to the fourth.
Quinn hit two three’s in the first and third periods while grabbing a team-best seven rebounds. Brown ended his night with 11 points, all in the third and also secured seven boards. Cunningham, Teizzi and freshman Josiah Hortin were the other three to land on the double-digit plateau scoring ten, 11 and 12 respectively.
“The Ramsey game we jumped out early and had a really good mindset to start,” Bozarth said. “I Really liked our energy to start the third quarter as we came out of the gate playing at a high level which was something where we’ve struggled at in third quarters.
Quinn and Cunningham heated up early the next day versus the Broncos scoring eight points each in the first quarter fueled by a defensive gem by Teizzi who secured three of his four steals in the period putting the Warriors in front 19-11 at the first buzzer. Cunningham stepped outside for a three late in the second to slow down a hard charging home team before Quinn dropped in ten points on a three and a five for six effort at the line in the third giving the boys in black a 46-40 lead heading to the final stanza of the year.
Quinn again found his way to the charity stripe late making five of six but it was a thunderous dunk on a breakaway that punctuated the victory. Tuscola was strong at the line down the stretch sinking 10 from the line. Hortin was good on all three of his attempts scoring all five of his points in the last six minutes. Cunningham ended his career with the Warriors delivering 16 points and seven rebounds.
“Cerro Gordo was a really competitive game. They had struggled earlier in the week leading up to our game but we are learning we are now the hunted and are getting everyone’s best effort,” the coach stated. “We handled their third quarter run well and responded with our own run to finish the game. I’m really proud of our guys, they finished a season full of adversity with an overall record of 13-5.”