STRUTHERS - The Wildcats had an answer.
The Mogadore boys' basketball team ended the first half on an 11-2 run to build a nine-point halftime lead en route to a 63-50 victory over Wellsville in an Ohio Division Northeast District Final Friday night at Struthers.
With the win, the Wildcats improved to 19-5 on the season, and Mogadore will now play in the regional semifinals Tuesday at the Canton Memorial Fieldhouse. With the loss, the Tigers end the season at 13-10.
Wellsville’s Seth Bradford and Josh Carter fight for a loose ball Friday against Mogadore during a district final in Struthers. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
A 3-pointer by Camden Douglas pulled Wellsville to within 19-18 in the second quarter, but the Mogadore responded by scoring the next nine points to go up 28-18. The Wildcats led 29-20 at halftime.
It was the same story in the second half. The Tigers made a couple of runs to get back into the game, but the Wildcats always had an answer.
"Every time," Wellsville head coach Bug Thompson said. "We couldn't get a run going. Every time we would get one, they would come down and hit two or three 3s in a row. The kids played hard.
Mogadore 63, Wellsville 50
WE (50): Camden Douglas 4 0-0 11, Zack Mellott 0 0-0 0, Nate Scott 5 1-2 13, Seth Bradford 2 4-4 8, Brendon Carr 1 0-0 2, Jordan Sloan 0 0-0 0, Sam McIntosh 0 0-0 0, Cody Barnes 1 0-0 2, Josh Carter 3 8-12 14. TOTALS: 16 13-18 50.
MO (63): Jake Cramer 1 3-3 5, Austin Pierce 2 2-2 8, Michael Duma 3 4-6 12, Hunter VanCamp 9 2-3 21, Zack Heigelmann 3 2-4 8, Alex Roebken 1 2-3 4, Brandon Morris 1 0-0 3, Cary Strain 0 0-0 0, Kasey Beard 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 21 15-21 63.
WE09-11-15-15 - 50
MO17-12-15-19 - 63
Three-point field goals: Wellsville - 5 (Douglas 3, Scott 2); Mogadore - 6 (Pierce 2, Duma 2, VanCamp, Beard)
"We got farther than anybody thought we would. I was proud of the kids, but we did not come ready to play tonight."
The loss ended the high school career of Josh Carter - Wellsville's lone senior. The Tigers started four sophomores - Nate Scott, Jordan Sloan, Seth Bradford and Douglas - along with Carter.
Thompson said his players did not suffer from stage fright.
"No, I just think we were flat coming out," he said. "I don't think they were afraid. I really don't.
"We got beat on the boards. Rebounding killed us. We had 22 rebounds tonight. We usually get 22 in a half. We didn't get rebounds. They did a hell of a job boxing us off of the boards, but that's what you get. I guess that is why they play the game."
Three players scored in double digits to lead the way for the Tigers.
Carter recorded a team-high 14 points, Scott tallied 13 points and Douglas ended up with 11 points. Also, Bradford delivered eight points, and Brendon Carr and Cody Barnes each scored two points.
Two players scored in double figures for the Wildcats. Hunter Van Camp collected a game-high 21 points, and Michael Duma added 12 points.
Thompson saw the Wildcats play a couple of times this season. He said they did not do anything he didn't expect Friday night.
"I saw them play against East Canton later in the year, and they did the same thing," he said. "They have a couple of shooters, and tonight they hit some shots. We knew they were going to hit them. We just couldn't respond that's all."
Van Camp and Duma each hit a 3-pointer helping the Wildcats to jump out to a 10-2 lead in the first quarter. Bradford delivered back-to-back baskets to pull the Tigers to within, 12-9, but Mogadore scored the final five points of the frame to lead 17-9 after eight minutes of play.
In the second quarter, Douglas hit two 3-pointers to pull Wellsville to within one point, but Mogadore responded with its big run to end the half to take the lead into the locker room.
Most of the damage came after Carter was injured while going after a loose ball. Carter sustained a cut, and he had to leave the court to receive medical treatment. Carter was bandaged up, and he returned to the floor.
"We didn't get a rebound," Thompson said. "Josh left with his eye, and we didn't get a rebound. Then, we got a couple open looks, and we couldn't put them in and convert. I don't know what to say."
The Wildcats extended their lead in the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Austin Pierce gave Mogadore its biggest lead of the game at 15 points, 40-25. The Tigers closed the gap to 44-35 entering the fourth quarter.
Wellsville pulled within six points on a couple of occasions in the fourth, but the Tigers were unable to get any closer. The Tigers missed some good looks at the bucket, and they also committed some costly turnovers.
The Wildcats put the game away at the free-throw line.
"We couldn't respond," Thompson said. "We were rushing our shots. I don't know.
"At this point, it is back to the drawing board. The only good thing is I have got them all back again except for Josh. I hate to see it end like this, but he had a good career."