WELLSVILLE - It's been five years since an Inter-Tri County League lower tier boys basketball trophy has been placed into the display in the main lobby at Wellsville High School. With a 64-52 win over Western Reserve on Saturday night, the Tigers ensured that another was on the way.
"It feels good," junior Nate Scott said. "Actually, it feels great. We got what we wanted in the beginning of the season, it's a share of it, but we still got it."
The win cemented the Tigers' (17-3, 12-3) position atop the ITCL lower tier along with McDonald. With one more win, the Tigers will also go finish with a perfect home slate in the regular season.
"That's huge, home court advantage is a big thing in high school basketball," Scott said. "Teams might get you on the road, but you have to always get them at home."
Wellsville's three losses to Beaver Local, McDonald and Southern Local all came on the road.
"You don't like to lose at home, I think they lost one last year and that was it," Thompson said. "They've been playing pretty well at home it's just the road."
W. RESERVE: 14-9-11-18 - 52
WELLSVILLE: 8-27-13-16 - 54
W. RESERVE SCORING: Payton Snyder 2-1-6, Dalton Korda 2-0-4, Tim Cooper 1-0-2, Cole Smith 2-0-6, Joe Wisniewski 2-2-7, Joe Falasca 5-0-10, Nolan Snyder 6-4-17. TOTALS: 20, 7-8: 52.
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Camden Douglas 2-2-8, Nate Scott 11-2-30, Antonio Fultz 1-1-3, Seth Bradford 8-0-17, Jordan Sloan 3-0-6. TOTALS: 25, 5-11: 64.
Three-pointers: Western Reserve 5 (Smith 2, P. Snyder, N. Snyder, Wisniewski), Wellsville 9 (Scott 6, Douglas 2, Bradford).
The Tigers came out sluggish, missing layups and free throws on the way to a forgettable first quarter that saw them trailing the Blue Devils (8-13) 14-8. For Wellsville coach David Thompson, it was just a matter of time before things picked up for his team.
"We tried to get a press going but couldn't get any pressure on the ball and couldn't get the steals we needed at mid court," Thompson said.
That switch that was flipped at the end of the frame, triggered an 18-0 run that spanned three minutes and 27 seconds in the second quarter, and put the Tigers with a 12-point lead as they closed the half.
"We just went straight man-to-man and got some pressure on the ball and they started throwing the ball away," Thompson said. "We wanted to get out and attack them more. We weren't pushing the ball down the floor. If they're back, you can still take the ball at them and kick the ball out."
Scott poured in 12 of his 30 points for the evening to help key the run. He finished the night going 6 of 10 from beyond the arc and added four assists and three steals. Fellow junior Camden Douglas added a four-point play during the run to help the Tigers surge. Douglas finished with eight points.
"Once Nate (Scott) started hitting threes, that allowed us to post (Seth) Bradford up later on," Thompson said. "That helps a lot when Nate is knocking down shots, because then teams can't pack it in on Bradford. They were triple teaming him inside when we started. We kicked it out and rotated the ball around and Nate was wide open. He's been doing that since ninth grade."
Bradford concluded the evening with 17 points, seven of which coming in that second frame as Wellsville outscored the Blue Devils 27-9 in that second quarter.
"They're good, every kid on that team can shoot the ball and they know how to play the game," Western Reserve coach Tim King said. "He (Thompson) has done a great job and they deserve to be tied for first place in the league."
Nolan Snyder led the Blue Devils with 17 points. Joe Falasca added 10 points.
"We played pretty well in spurts but then we had those two or three minute breakdowns that you can't have against a team like Wellsville," King said. " They will make shots and the next thing you know, you will go from down six to down 20 pretty quickly. "
The title comes as a checkmark on the Tigers to-do list this season, but also as a just another step along the journey.
"It's just a matter of us all hitting shots, after one person starts clicking, we all start to click," Scott said. "If we just play basketball, just play defense we will be okay. We have some all-around good players."
"It's about time we got another one, it's been a while," Thompson said. "We've been close a couple times but we finally got another one."
Wellsville also won the jayvee game 49-44. Brendon Carr led the way for the Tigers netting 20 points. Sam McIntosh added 13 points. Western Reserve was led by Lance Dezee with 19 points while Kyle Hilles added 13 points.
NOTES: The Wellsville 7th grade boys basketball team was recognized at halftime for winning the ITCL lower tier with a win over Western Reserve on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers finished 19-0.