By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girls basketball team came up on the wrong side of the scoreboard this past Tuesday, February 22 falling in the Tuscola Sectional to a very versatile Neoga squad 41-34 in a low scoring defensive slugfest. Coach Tim Kohlbecker’s Lady Warriors entered the contest riding a ten-game winning streak but a few misses throughout the 32 minutes of action proved to be too much to overcome.
Neoga utilized a consistent three-headed monster on offense with three players each scoring 12 points attacking both inside and out. Tuscola picked the wrong time to struggle, hitting just 29 percent of their shots from the floor and 21 percent from outside the arc while reaching double-digits in just one quarter.
“The last loss is always painful and as a coach you go through the, what ifs, in your mind for a long time,” stated Kohlbecker. “The girls competed and fought and that’s all a coach can ask. Defensively we played well enough to win but offensively we did not shoot well and we would make a run at them but couldn’t quite get over the hump. At the end of the day I’m very proud of what this group was able to accomplish.”
Junior Ella Boyer led the offensive charge scoring a team best 12 points. Senior Sophie Kremitzki who was next up with seven points found the score book in all four frames. Senior Maddie Stahler followed with five points while Sydney Moss checked in with four points.
Stahler drained an early three as the two teams traded buckets and leads throughout the first eight minutes. Kremitzki and Harley Woodard each added a bucket in the paint as well but a late score gave the Lady Indians a 13-10 advantage at the first buzzer.
That three point lead would stick till the break despite three-balls by Boyer and Isabelle Wilcox as both squads struggled to find any rhythm on the offensive end entering half with Neoga in front 22-19. Defense ruled again in the third with just 11 points total scored in the period but a late surge early in the fourth by the Indians and a solid effort at the charity stripe late sealed the Warriors fate.
Tuscola ends with a 24-8 record on the year winning 12 of their last 13 contests, including a CIC tourney title and a Regional Championship. The 24 wins ties the group from 2015-16 for the most in program history. Kremitzki advanced to state earlier in the night from the Tuscola Sectional in the three point shooting contest sinking nine of 15 from downtown.
“Soph has put in four years of work on her shooting and is a very accurate shooter,” the coach said. “It’s bitter sweet but this is one of the payoffs for hard work, she earned it.”