Hornets fall in double header
The Wellsboro Boys and Girls Basketball teams each suffered losses in the District IV semi-finals at Williamsport Area High School on Tuesday, February 28.
Southern Columbia 52, Wellsboro 45
An 18-6 third quarter by Southern Columbia doomed the Wellsboro Boys Basketball team in a 52-45 loss in the District IV Class AAA semi-finals at Williamsport Area High School on Tuesday, February 28.
Wellsboro committed numerous turnovers and multiple mental mistakes on the night.
“I don’t know what to say. We ended up having 21 turnovers and we knew coming into the game that we couldn’t turn the ball over that much,” said head coach Todd Outman. “You’re playing against good competition, where earlier in the year against that competition you can have mental mistakes and it won’t cost you, but against teams like Southern Columbia it’s going to cost you as was evident tonight.”
Yet Wellsboro was still in it down to the final seconds.
The Hornets took an early 4-0 lead, but five turnovers led to 13 Tiger points. Wellsboro came back as juniors Dalton Prough and Collin Pietropola made the Tigers and their aggressive defense pay with nine combined points. Senior Alden Weiner added the remaining three for the Hornets, as they trailed 13-12 after the opening quarter.
An early three-pointer from senior Brandon Lamphier put the Hornets back in front to start the second, but the Tigers’ Sydney Damgaard answered right back with a three of his own to retake the lead. Wellsboro would go back in front by way of the foul line after the Tigers picked up their seventh team foul in the first half.
The Hornets went a combined 7-for-9 in the quarter, including Prough shooting 5-for-7. However, more turnovers cost the Hornets more points, but the team rebounded and tied the game at 24-24 on a Pietropola offensive rebound and bucket as the half came to a close.
The third quarter of games this year has been the Hornets’ Achilles heel, and Tuesday’s game was no different. An early block by Southern’s Julian Fleming on Pietropola set the tone for the Tigers, as they outscored Wellsboro 18-6. Fleming scored 8 of his points in the quarter alone, and Cam Young and Drew Michaels both added 5 points.
Wellsboro managed to get points from Prough, Weiner, and sophomore Brandyn Tuttle, but trailed 42-30 entering the fourth quarter.
“We told the kids to hang in there and that there was a lot of time left,” Outman said following the third quarter. “The way we can shoot we felt like we could get back into it. We were in a similar situation earlier this year over at Athens where we end up winning in overtime.”
The time, however, Wellsboro couldn’t complete the comeback, despite outscoring Southern Columbia 15-10 in the final frame. The quarter, like the second quarter for Southern Columbia, was foul heavy, and the Hornets were on the receving end of the calls this time. However, the Hornets kept battling back as sophomore Andrew Brelo hit a corner three, Prough added 4 more points, and junior Quinn Henry and Lamphier both added layups.
After a three from senior Jacob Singer, the Hornets found themselves trailing by 48-45. Wellsboro got the ball back after a Tiger turnover, but settled for and missed a mid-range jumper, forcing the Hornets to foul. The Tigers made both foul shots to go up 50-45 with time still remaining. Henry attempted a three on the Hornets’ next trip down the court with under 10 seconds left, but the shot came up short, and the Tigers’ Drew Michaels was fouled on the rebound, sending him to the line. Michaels sunk the two final foul shots, giving the Tigers a berth in the Class AAA championship game.
“The kids never give up,” Outman said of his team. “We gotta try and stay with the process we do, and you know we did get back in the game but towards the end when they had to be mentally tough and start thinking about things a little more we got foolish with the basketball and guys taking the ball out of bounds that shouldn’t have and what have you. It was a good experience for them. Hopefully we’ll be back in this type of situation and we’ll learn from our mistakes.”
Fleming finished with a double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds (8 offensive), Young had 16, and Michaels finished with 9.
Prough led the Hornets with 15 points and 7 rebounds, Pietropola scored 9, Weiner and Lamphier both scored 5, Singer, Brelo, and Tuttle all finished with 3, and Henry rounded out the scoring with 2. Lamphier made 4 assists, Henry had 2 assists, and Tuttle finished with 5 rebounds.
Wellsboro (21-5) will now take on #2 seed Loyalsock (20-6) in the consolation game, after the Lancers lost 50-47 to Hughesville, with a trip to the PIAA tournament on the line. The game will take place at a date, time, and location to be determined.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” remarked Outman. “Loyalsock has won numerous district titles and have been there a lot. We have to go back and prepare and hopefully we won’t do the things we did tonight and maybe pull off a victory.”
Hughesville 32, Wellsboro 24
The Wellsboro Varsity Girls Basketball team had their chance of playing a a second straight District IV title fall to the wayside in a 32-24 loss to Hughesville in the Class AAA semi-finals at Williamsport Area High School on Tuesday, February 28.
Both teams struggled early offensively, but the Lady Spartans managed to take a 5-0 lead before junior Rachael Tuttle made it 5-2 after grabbing an offensive rebound and putting the ball back up and in midway through the quarter. Hughesville built up an 8-4 lead, as senior Autum Kitajima scored the Lady Hornets’ other two points.
Wellsboro managed to shake off their scoring problems in the second, and outscored Hughesville 6-4. Junior Lizzie Poirier, senior Janessa Davis, and freshman Cathryn Brought all scored and Wellsboro’s swarming defense held the Lady Spartans to just two baskets, both by Jayden Leighow, to pull within 2 points, 12-10 at the half.
The third quarter was when Hughesville began to pull away. After an opening basket by Davis to tie it at 12-12, Hughesville went on a 7-2 run the rst of the quarter. Hughesville went up 17-12 after 5 quick points by Emily Akers, the game’s leading scorer, but Tuttle cut the lead to 4 points as she went 1-of-2 from the foul line. A steal and layup by sophomore Emma Poirier to make it 17-15 Hughesville was the Lady Hornets’ only basket the remainder of the quarter.
Wellsboro trailed 21-15 as the third quarter came to a close.
“I knew we had a good defensive plan to slow them down and I knew we could keep them in the 30’s, but we have to score to to win the game,” said head coach John Davis. “I thought we had some good looks. We had girls open, we just didn’t see them tonight. Bottom line is our shots didn’t fall and if you don’t make shots you’re not going to win the game.”
Hughesville started the fourth with a three from Akers to push the score to 24-15, but back-to-back three-pointers from the Poirier sisters, closed the gap to 24-21. Then Wellsboro started to foul and went ice-cold from the field down the stretch.
“They got to the foul line pretty quick in the fourth and we got into foul trouble pretty quick there,” continued Davis. “That hurt us and they didn’t miss their shots, they’re very good from the foul line and that just made it tougher for us.”
Wellsboro sent Leighow, Akers, and Kendra Smith to the line, and the Lady Spartans connected on all 6 foul shots to take a 30-21 lead with under three minutes remaining. Kitajima then fouled out sending Smith back to the line, where she went 1-for-2 to make it a 10-point game.
Wellsboro managed to score 3 more points, a layup from Emma Poirier and a foul shot from senior Jessica Grab, but Budman added the game’s final point for Hughesville from the foul line with over 30 seconds left to give the Lady Spartans the win.
Hughesville went 8-for-10 from the foul line in the fourth, and were 11-for-16 (69%) for the game. Wellsboro was 4-for-6 (66%) from the line for the game, but only shot two foul shots in the final minutes.
Akers led all scorers with 15 points, Leighow added 7, and Budman and Smith scored 5 each.
Emma Poirier led the Lady Hornets with 7 points, Lizzie Poirier scored 5, Davis finished with 4, Tuttle scored 4, Kitajima and Brought each scored 2, and Grab rounded out the scoring with a point. Tuttle led the Lady Hornets with 13 rebounds, giving her 322 for the year and 656 for her career. Davis finished with 3 assists and 2 steals, Lizzie Poirer added 3 steals, and Emma Poirier collected 5 rebounds.
The loss drops the Lady Hornets to 17-9 on the year, but the team will be back in action with a trip to the PIAA tournament on the line in the Class AAA consolation game against the loser of Mount Carmel and Loyalsock later tonight.
“We’re one of only two NTL teams still playing (Sayre being the other in Class AA), and we should be proud of that,” concluded Davis. “We have a tough opponent coming up next but we have a lot to play for.”