By Lenny Sementi
Jalen Quinn and the Tuscola boys basketball team picked up their first win of the new year opening Central Illinois Conference play with a solid 58-47 road victory at Clinton. Quinn and the boys in black rebounded from a loss in the championship game of the Holiday Hoopla to the host Sages behind a double-double effort from their senior leader.
Quinn added a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds to his season stat sheet. Younger brother junior Jordan was next up in the scoring column for head coach Justin Bozarth donating 12 points to the cause. Senior Haven Hatfield found his way to the double-digit plateau as well for the fourth time in the last six games scoring ten points in the CIC skirmish.
The two teams traded points and leads early with a late bucket by Quinn proved to be the difference at the first buzzer with Warriors ending up on top 15-13. Big buckets underneath by Jordan Quinn and Hatfield fueled a six point run late in the second pushing Tuscola in front by four more heading to the break leading the host Maroons 27-21 in a low scoring affair.
“It’s always nice to start the conference season with a double-digit win especially on the road,” Bozarth stated. “However, those that saw us play know that it wasn’t pretty. In a 31 game season, we’re going to go through some highs and lows. The truth of the matter is right now, we aren’t playing our best basketball.”
A big third frame for the Warriors all but sealed the deal on the outcome. Three’s by Jalen Quinn, Hatfield and Easton Cunningham were part of an 18-point outburst that sent Tuscola to the fourth in front by 14 points 45-31. Clinton took advantage of some missed Warrior free throws down the stretch but another three by both Quinn and Cunningham closed the door, moving the Warriors to 12-3 on the season and 1-0 in their quest for a league crown.
“Up to Christmas, we were shooting the ball over 75 percent from the free throw line as a team–a fantastic percentage in high school basketball,” the coach said. “We were 8-18 Friday following some poor performances in Monticello. The law of averages seems to be working against us in a fierce way right now.”