TOLONO — Tuscola coach Justin Bozarth has made it pretty clear to his team. The more the Warriors win, the bigger the target on their back will be this season.
That was especially true Tuesday night at Unity. Not only did Tuscola enter the game undefeated and on a 14-game win streak, but the Warriors also had earned their first state ranking of the season at No. 10 in Class 2A earlier in the day.
So the Rockets putting together a third-quarter run and taking a lead in the fourth on their home court wasn’t all that surprising. Neither was the fact Tuscola was able to rally for a 66-58 victory.
“We were down three points in the mid-fourth quarter, and we made the last run,” Bozarth said. “Part of it was we made some big shots, we stayed composed for the most part (and) we executed some of our sets down the stretch.
“Unity’s tough, and their record is not indicative of who they are. They’ve played a gauntlet of a schedule and had all sorts of injuries.”
Tuscola improved to 15-0 with the win. It was the Warriors’ closest since a six-point win against Paxton-Buckley-Loda on Dec. 28, but they found a way to stay unbeaten.
“Our kids have earned the right to be talked about a little bit,” Bozarth said. “At the end of the day, they’re 14- to 18-year-olds, and they like to read about themselves. But your opponent can’t stand reading about you. Somebody wants to be the first to knock us off.”
Sophomore guard Jalen Quinn helped make sure that wasn’t Unity on Tuesday night. Quinn led the Warriors with 24 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Grant Hardwick chipped in 14 points.
“He stayed really composed and let the game come to him,” Bozarth said of Quinn. “When we make a run, he’s a big part of the runs that we make.”
Nate Drennan paced Unity (4-12) with 13 points and was joined in double figures by Karson Ewerks and Blake Kimball with 12 apiece and Jordan Clark’s 11.
Blue Devils win 17th straight
Drew Reifsteck and Elijah Tidwell scored 14 points each Tuesday against Armstrong-Potomac.
Two experienced players leading the way in another Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin victory.
It’s what the Blue Devils needed in their 54-18 Vermilion Valley Conference victory against Armstrong-Potomac. Especially with head coach Gary Tidwell not on the bench after a medical procedure.
“I was just mostly impressed with our veteran mindset,” said assistant coach Murad Abbed, who’s in his first season on the BHRA staff. “I thought the guys came out and handled their business. I think it just speaks to the program Coach Tidwell’s built and the culture he’s built with the kids about coming in and getting right to work.”
The game was basically decided after BHRA built a 21-point lead in the first quarter that ballooned to 34 by halftime against the Trojans (1-12), who got seven points from Rylee Showalter.
“A lot of the kids we’ve got, they know this program better than I do, and I’ve told them that,” Abbed said. “I relied on those guys to get us in the right spot. It’s a testament to those guys for taking care of business and handling things the way Coach Tidwell would want them to.”