By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s boys basketball team put in some overtime this past week and took a big step and a huge leap toward a regular season conference championship. They ran past Central A&M on Tuesday in Moweaqua 65-31 and then rallied late collecting more road kills in a 55-46 overtime victory over Warrensburg thanks to a 20 for 25 outing at the charity stripe.
Warrensburg put the clamps on the Warriors early, limiting the black and gold to just 13 points in the first half to take a 23-13 lead into the break. Jalen Quinn led all with 25 points; the senior attacked the defense in the third and fourth frames, finding his way to the free throw five times in the last 16 minutes of the game. He went 11 for 11 from the stripe after the half and was good on 12 of 13 in the game while delivering another double double ending the night with 14 rebounds, oh and add to that five steals, three blocks, and two assists.
Tuscola was strong down the stretch erasing a nine-point deficit in the fourth to tie it at 41’s at the end of regulation and then ran away with it in the extra period. When it was all said and done the boys in black and gold outscored the Cardinals by 18 points in the final 13 minutes of the game to secure the CIC victory, limiting their hosts to just three baskets during that stretch run.
Outside of Quinn, Bozarth leaned on a balanced attack that saw five separate players score at least five points. James Parsley and Josiah Hortin came away with seven points each while Preston Brown added six points. Jordan Quinn and Easton Cunningham added five each to the totals. The younger Quinn was next line in the rebound department behind his older brother securing six rebounds, three on the offensive end. Parsley has been on a tear on the defensive end of the floor and that didn’t change as the senior guard swiped four steals and forced numerous turnovers.
“What a really competitive game,” Bozarth said. We made the right plays late to force overtime and then felt really well once we got the game to OT with one of their better players being fouled out. Really proud of our guys in how they competed and closed the game on the road against one of the better teams in our conference.”
They took a small step earlier in the week with the win over A&M. Quinn scored 14 of his game high 23 points in the opening stanza. He finished off a pair of old fashioned three’s on his way to a seven for eight effort from the free throw line in the game including a well-rounded stat line consisting of seven steals, seven assists and five rebounds.
Parsley did a little bit of everything, also donating 11 points, five rebounds and five steals to the cause. Tuscola forced 12 turnovers in the first, three of which were a direct result of a Parsley steal leading to seven points on the offensive end. Hortin hit a three and Cunningham knocked down two of them adding seven and six points to stat line respectively.
“James has been tremendous the last two weeks,” commented the coach. “We are really proud of him. He started earlier in the year, fell out of the starting line up, and has since rejoined the starting five. He never once complained or pouted. Just stayed focused in his role and in trying to help us win. He’s really become passionate about his role in being a pest on defense and our defense has immensely improved with his leadership.”