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Gaddis, Kremer lead T-Town in loss to Tuscola

Jan. 16—TEUTOPOLIS — Justin Bozarth couldn't help but be in awe of his surroundings.

The Tuscola boys basketball coach, Bozarth had never trekked down to Teutopolis to be a part of the historical J.H. Griffin Gym and the rich tradition that is Wooden Shoes basketball.

Until Saturday.

Bozarth and the Warriors walked into Teutopolis and walked out with a 59-52 victory in front of a mass of people.

"This is the first time I've ever been in this gym. When they called before the season started and said, 'Hey, we have an opening. We've got a huge celebration planned and we'd like you guys to come down,'" Bozarth said. "We were open and said, 'We'll be there.' It was better than what I expected. You knew it was going to be jam-packed.

"The game couldn't have been a more enjoyable game to watch."

The Warriors had lost the previous two games leading into Saturday night but made sure not to make it a third.

"Two really good teams that we lost to and had chances to win both games," Bozarth said. "But this is a veteran group and they respond and know that nights when we don't play well, we have a chance to get beat."

Tuscola jumped out to a 17-11 first quarter lead.

Junior Sawyer Woodard started the game with a layup. Senior Jordan Quinn hit a three and junior Kam Sweetnam hit one himself to make it 8-0 with 5:53 left.

Senior Tyler Pruemer then made a layup to put the Shoes (12-6) on the board, but Sweetnam answered right back with his second three to make it 11-2.

Alex Kremer then went on a personal 7-0 run to cut the lead to four points, 13-9, with 3:01 left.

He hit a layup, knocked down a three and rebounded a miss and put it back in.

Sweetnam then hit a midrange shot and junior Parker James made a layup off a lob pass before senior Garrett Gaddis hit a layup to make the score after one.

T-Town then outscored the Warriors 17-9 in the second quarter to take a 28-26 advantage into halftime.

Sweetnam hit a layup in the third that cut the lead to one-point, 33-32, with 3:59 left.

Senior Josiah Hortin then drilled a three to put Tuscola on top, 35-33.

Joey Niebrugge then converted a hoop to tie the game with 3:06 left and senior Austin Bloemer gave the Shoes the lead right back after converting a layup to make it 37-35.

The Warriors then went on a 5-0 run to take a 40-37 lead with 1:27 to go.

Tuscola clung to a one-point lead heading into the fourth after a Gaddis halfcourt heave at the buzzer went through to make the score.

Gaddis finished with 14 points.

The momentum from the halfcourt shot didn't carry over into the fourth, though, as the Warriors outscored T-Town 16-10 in the stanza to come away with the victory.

Sweetnam led Tuscola with 20 points.

"That's the bounciest rim I've ever seen in a high school gym, so as long as you hit the rim, it has a chance of going in, so I'm glad we started at that basket. When you got a guy like Kam, when he sees the ball go in early, he's pretty electric with the basketball in his hands," Bozarth said.

The guard also came up with a key 50-50 ball toward the end of the game after diving on the floor and regaining possession. His teammates and coaches swarmed him afterward.

"One of the things we try to pride ourselves on is being a 'dog.' You got to be a dog and you got to be committed to playing defense for 32 minutes and teams are going to score, but can you guard and can you rebound and that was the epitome of, 'I'm going to sell out and put myself on the floor for my teammates and try to make a play,'" Bozarth said. "That steal sealed the game."

Jordan Quinn had 14 points and scored the 1,000th point of his career in the fourth. The entire gym gave him a standing ovation following.

"It wasn't really a goal I had in mind my whole high school career," Quinn said. "It kind of just came about. I try to let the game come to me, but it's really a special moment."

Hortin pitched in with nine. James and sophomore Logan Kurtz had six and Woodard had four.

Aside from Gaddis, Kremer finished with 11 points.

"He came out timid. But once he started getting into attack mode, that's when he's good and we need to have that all the time out of him," Shoes head coach Chet Reeder said. "He helped us stay in the game. Tuscola came out and three some haymakers, but like I told our group, I was proud of their response and resilience, and that's what this group is."

Joey Niebrugge had nine. Bloemer had eight. Pruemer had seven and Zac Niebrugge had three.

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 618-510-9231 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com.