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Lady Warriors basketball team is ready for a new challenge

By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girls basketball coach Tim Kohlbecker will lead the ‘2022’ version of the Lady Warriors into battle against one of the toughest regular season schedules in the area. The long time coach returns for his 19th campaign with the black and gold. Kohlbecker enters the season with 346-wins to his credit, over 50% of the programs win total, grabbing 9-regional crowns, including last years and 1-sectional title along the way. 

 “Central A&M has been a great rivalry game for us over the years, and they have one of the best players in the area,” Kohlbecker said when asked about his schedule. “Also in the league, Sullivan always plays hard and St. T is coached well with good athletes, and Warrensburg is always tough. Non-conference wise we will be tested by St Thomas More, ALAH, Unity and St Joe is always deep, along with a few other teams we will see in Tournaments.”

 Defense has always been a staple of coach K’s squads and last years was no different setting an all time steal record, swiping 514 in 32-games eclipsing the last mark by nearly 50. Their 24-wins tied for the most in program history utilizing a stingy defense and an offense that swished 26 more 3-pointers (142), than any other team in the history of girl’s basketball at TCHS, and also shared the ball dishing out 379-assists. 

 “We tried to schedule summer workouts to lessen the load on our multi-sport athletes, who are trying to accommodate multiple coaches, jobs and families,” stated Kohlbecker. That being said, our attendance was good, in the weight room and the gym. We focused on individual improvements with a bit less focus on team strategies and a number of players made excellent strides.”

Four seniors Ella Boyer, Molly Macaulay, Isabelle Wilcox and Harley Woodard return to the floor for a team that posted a 24-8 record overall collecting a Central Illinois Conference Tournament title as well as tourney runner up honors at the Monticello Holiday Hoopla, and the Oakwood Thanksgiving Invite along the way. 

 “We are counting on our seniors. We have talked with the girls about the definition of a leader, focusing on how they need to lead by example and be your hardest workers. Ultimately it may be leadership by committee, but right now I’d say Harley goes as hard every day and on every drill as anybody.”

Fourth year player Ella Boyer earned All Tourney honors at both regular season events as well and secured a 1st Team All CIC selection. The shooting guard scored a team best 391-points, hitting a program best 72 three-pointers and needs just a pair to set the career mark as well. She was tops in steals and assists accounting for 90 and 74-respectively. 

 Woodard did her damage around the hoop. The physical post player grabbed 185-rebounds while scoring 189-points, most of which came in the paint. She also donated the record-breaking steal total securing 63. Wilcox donated to the defensive cause also posting 47-steals. She did a little bit of everything ending the year with 95-points, 76-rebounds and 11-threes. Macaulay played in 26-games and will help Woodard out down low.

“Its my hope that on the offensive end we have better balance than the past few years, this will mean other teams can’t effectively run junk defenses to take out one or two scorers,” stated the coach. “I’m hoping our defense can carry us till our chemistry develops offensively. Other teams know Ella can shoot which is why we need other scoring options. Ava will run the point and Izzy is streaky from the arc but has improved around the rim. Sydney, Molly and Harley will provide our inside, and to a degree, outside scoring. Harley did off-season work focusing on shooting the 3 and slashing. Lia is a much improved ball handler and with her speed gets to the rim well, she is also a very good on ball defender. Zoey is capable from all 3 levels. Emily has been one of our most consistent shooters in practice.”

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