Warriors girls closing in on crown
TUSCOLA — So far in their terrific season, the Warriors have seen just about everything. But the box-and-one defense caught coach Tim Kohlbecker by surprise.
"I was prepared for pretty much everything but that," he said with a laugh.
Despite their surprise, the Warriors pulled together to get a win for their seniors, beating Unity 42-23.
The Rockets' (6-12, 4-5 Okaw Valley) defense made some stops early, and they were the first on the board, establishing a 6-2 lead in the opening minutes. Tuscola (18-3, 9-0) quickly reversed its deficit, however. A 10-2 run helped the Warriors to a four-point lead after one quarter.
Unity coach Kelly Gallick was happy with the way her team played at the beginning of the game.
"We were hitting the boards early when we were missing our shots, and it favored us," she said.
In the second quarter, Unity kept up its solid play, managing to stay within two possessions of the hosts until the final minute. The Rockets committed a few turnovers just before halftime, and the Warriors took advantage. Junior Erin Weaver hit back-to-back jumpers and Susan Ponder (12 points) nailed her second three.
Tuscola led 26-17 at halftime, but the rally didn't stop. When play resumed, the Warriors went on a 12-0 run and held Unity scoreless for 6 1/2 minutes. Madie Herbert hit a putback with 1:20 to play in the third, scoring Unity's only points in the period.
With a 19-point advantage at the start of the fourth, the Senior Night win was a lock for Tuscola.
The game was emotional for the Warriors, who said goodbye to six seniors, and Kohlbecker, in particular, whose daughter, Sammi, played her last home game. Sammi Kohlbecker had 12 points for the Warriors.
"She's shot thousands of shots in this gym, and I couldn't ask for anything more (than the win)," he said.
With their final home game out of the way, Kohlbecker and the Warriors turn their attention to Clinton. A win Thursday would guarantee Tuscola at least a share of the Okaw Valley title.
Joan Maxwell led Unity with nine points.