By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girls’ basketball team did exactly what top seeds are supposed to do dispatching eighth seed Shelbyville squad in dominating fashion collecting a 30-point 49-19 victory in the opening round of the Central Illinois Conference tournament. Not one of coach Tim Kohlbecker’s team reached the double-digit plateau in the contest, but he did get points from 8 of his 9 players in a well-balanced offensive attack.
The Warriors’ defense forced five turnovers in the first frame and four in the second while limiting the Lady Rams to just four points in each frame en-route to a 38-8 lead at the break. Emma Henderson scored five of her seven points in the first half, and Natalie Bates twice went coast to coast with steals as well to fuel the offense. Alexis Koester hit a three in the first half and drove to the hoop later in the game, which all added up to a game high nine points when the dust settled.
Cassie Russo did most of her damage early as well putting back two of her five offensive rebounds early in the game. After the break the Warriors subbed early and often due to the large lead leaning on the younger Russo, Lexie, on the offensive end. She ended the night with eight points on a perfect 3 of 3 from the floor. Jackie Watson found her way to six points in the game, while Grace Dietrich notched four points, and Ashton Smith had three. Katrine Joergensen was strong on defense and secured a pair of rebounds.
With the win Tuscola moves to 15-5 overall and advances to the tournaments semi-final round where they will play a pesky fourth seeded Lady Redskin squad from Sullivan.