By Lenny Sementi
Taylor Musgrave burst through the door this past Thursday, January 13 against a good Warrensburg squad helping coach Tim Kohlbecker’s girls basketball team protect the home floor while collecting a double-digit Central Illinois Conference victory. The senior wing connected from outside the arc on back-to-back trips down the floor in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to seal the deal on the win.
Musgrave donated ten points to the cause and was a pain in the side of the Lady Cardinals all night long covering the floor like a blanket. She stole the ball twice on back-to-back possessions leading to four points for the black and gold early in the fourth quarter.
Classmate Sophie Kremitzki put the team on her back in the middle two frames en-route to a game-high 18 points on six of 11 from the floor and five of seven from the charity stripe. Sidney Moss found the double-digit plateau as well finding her way to the free throw line late scoring six of her ten points at the stripe four coming in the final seconds. It was a double-double day for the sophomore who added ten rebounds to the stat sheet. Junior Ella Boyer was next up with nine points including a three pointer while Harley Woodard led the way on defense hustling her way to a game-high seven rebounds.
Boyer scored the last five points of the first period draining a three at the buzzer giving the Lady Warriors a 12-3 lead after one. Kremitzki then took over in the second with two jumpers and a runner that led to an old-fashioned three helping Kohlbecker’s crew build a 25-12 advantage at the half.
Warrensburg came out firing following the break posting a 9-1 run cutting the lead to four with just under four minutes left in the stanza. Kremitzki stepped outside for a trey to slow the momentum but the Lady Cardinals kept charging, climbing to within two of the lead with a little over five minutes left in the game. Enter Musgrave and her three barrage and a four for four effort at the line by Moss all combined put the Warriors on top for good.
“This was an important game for conference seeding purposes for us,” stated the coach. “Overall we played well, we’ve been emphasizing rebounding due to their size advantage and we attacked the boards. Syd (Moss) was huge with a double double and Harley hit the boards hard for us. Sophie continues to shoot the ball well and Taylor provided a huge offensive lift.”
The ladies took to the road for a big game against state ranked Cowden-Herrick at the NTC/CIC shootout in Altamont this past Saturday night. Cowden entered the game with just one blemish on their record and ranked sixth in Class 1A and needed all they could muster against the black and gold escaping with a five-point 50-45 victory thanks to a big day at the charity stripe moving to 18-1 on the season.
“This was a good measuring stick for the girls for the post season. Unfortunately this game was identical to Neoga, we started slow, had a great second quarter, abysmal third, and then had to play catch up.” commented Kohlbecker.
Boyer did her damage early and late from three-point land. The-long range bomber hit a three in the first leading to a 7-5 lead at the first buzzer. She added two more treys in the second helping put Tuscola in front 23-16 at the break. One more in the fourth added up to 13 points in the official scorebook but it was not enough as Cowden made a living at the line in the final 16 minutes hitting 21 of 19 free throws in the second half and eight of 11 in the pivotal fourth stanza. They scored one less at the charity stripe in the third and fourth than Tuscola scored total, utilizing a 16-4 to open the second half to take over the reins heading into a stretch run.
In comparison Tuscola shot 16 less from the line in the game making seven of 13 on the night. Kremitzki was perfect in that department, hitting all six of her attempts on her way to a team-high 17 points. She also found her way to a game-high five steals and dished out three assists.
Isabelle Wilcox hit a pair of threes in the third and Moss sank a runner accounting for all eight points in the frame. Maddie Stahler went deep to keep the Warriors in striking distance late and also grabbed six boards in the contest.
“The girls never quit fighting but we put them on the line too often. They attacked the basket and we did not. We have to find a way to get more interior scoring to improve our offense overall. However, based on state rankings, we emphasized to the girls, we are within reach of being a top team. We need more consistency for all 32 minutes, reduce our turnovers and find a way to improve in the paint.”