Coming off a tough loss against conference-leading Asheville Wednesday night, Tuscola girls basketball bounced back with a comfortable win Friday. The Mountaineers topped West Henderson 49-27 to sweep the season series with the Falcons.
Junior Gracie “John” Glance led the Mountaineers with 18 points, followed by sophomore Cooper Richardson with nine. After Wednesday’s loss, the Mountaineers came out with a much better offensive game, and controlled it from start to finish.
“I’m super proud of them,” said head coach Pam Bryant. “We challenged them the other night in regards to running the plays and setting them up, actually running them. I’m really proud that they did that tonight and were a little bit more patient. But I’m just very pleased with their performance overall.”
The Mountaineers roared out of the gate in this one, scoring the game’s first 12 points before the Falcons hit a 3 halfway through the opening quarter.
After scoring just 26 points against Asheville Wednesday, Tuscola was nearly halfway there four minutes into the game, moving the ball around for good looks inside and out, including two 3-pointers by Glance in the early going.
“This game, we ran our offenses so much better than last game,” Richardson said. “We actually executed the plays. We were able to see who was open and take good shots, and not rush them.”
The Mountaineers slowed down considerably to close the opening frame, as West Henderson finished it with a 10-3 run to cut Tuscola’s lead to five at 15-10.
Both offenses ran ice cold to start the second quarter, with Tuscola scoring three points to extend its lead to 18-10 with 3:25 left in the half. The Mountaineers continued to force turnovers and box out for defensive boards to stifle their opponent.
With just over two minutes left in the half, Glance sunk another triple from the corner to push Tuscola’s lead to nine at 21-12. That started an 8-0 run to close the half for Tuscola, capped off by another Glance 3, that sent the Mounties to the locker room leading 26-12.
After a 6-1 run to start the third quarter allowed West to cut Tuscola’s lead to nine, Tuscola extended its lead to 15 late on a pair of free throws by junior Hailey McMahan. West did hit a last-second layup, but the Mounties still carried a comfortable lead to the final frame at 35-22.
West Henderson cut Tuscola’s lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as it got. Forcing turnovers and using a quick-strike transition game, the Mountaineers ripped off an 11-0 run to push their lead to 21 at 46-25 with 3:24 left to play, and cruised to the finish in an impressive victory.
“The good thing was, tonight I thought we responded well when they started making a couple of push backs,” Bryant said. “They were making some points when we weren’t. We didn’t panic, we came down and stuck with the game plan. And then, again, we executed. It was nice to see them take control, and it was fun to watch them look like they were having fun tonight. It looked like they enjoyed each other and playing tonight.”