Leetonia gains traction
LEETONIA — The Leetonia Bears were looking to regain some momentum.
After dropping four games in a row, then winning three straight, they dropped a contest to Wellsville Wednesday night.
The team rebounded nicely with a dominating 48-25 victory over league foe East Palestine Friday night.
“This starts the new season. It’s half-way now,” Bears coach Dan Dennis remarked.
“We gained a lot of confidence coming off the win against Maplewood,” Bears senior Dylan Lennon remarked about a big last Friday. “Just like the back of our shirts says it’s ‘Our Turn’.”
The win improves the Bears to 5-6 on the season, 2-4 in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs fall to 0-5, 0-4 in EOAC play.
The Bears controlled the boards on the night as Dylan Lennon hauled down 10 caroms while scoring a game-high 17 points in the contest. Timothy Finch and Ian Davis would both grab 6 rebounds apiece. Jaedon Finley would also score in double-digits with 12 points in the contest.
“We have three kids that are 6-2. They can all jump and when you in a 2-3 zone you have to control the boards,” Dennis said. “He (Lennon) hasn’t reached his potential. Dylan is an athlete and tonight he just caught fire.”
He added, “Jaedon Finley, boy did he hustle. And of course Marco Ferry, he’s just a competitor. Kudos to all of our kids. They played as a team.”
“We got the looks,” Bulldogs coach Bill Stanton explained of their 1 of 13 shooting from the floor in the first quarter. “Shots didn’t fall. When we break down the film we will probably see a lot of getting a good look, but they just didn’t fall. We’ll keep working hard and that’s all we can do.”
The Bears came out on fire as they raced out to a 13-0 lead before the Bulldogs hit a bucket with just under 2 minutes remaining in the first period. The Bears held a commanding 18-2 lead at the end of the quarter. They held a 17-point, 28-11 lead at the intermission.
“We talked to our kids about quick starts, and they played well tonight. All seven of our starters played well, played their role, and played hard. When you play hard, good things happen,” Dennis said.
“We came out with a lot more energy than in the past few games,” Lennon added. “It carried out through the game.”
Following a quick basket by the Bulldogs Weston Jones to start the second half, the Bears retook the momentum and closed the frame with three consecutive buckets by Jaedon Finley to hold a 42-18 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“We always want to play with energy and we didn’t bring it tonight. It’s upsetting, but we have played three games last week and we are playing three this week. In my judgment, it’s hard. Kids get tired. I’m not saying that is an excuse, but that’s what I would chalk it up to,” Stanton said.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to play the United Eagles. The Bears will play again on Tuesday when they travel to Lisbon.
EAST PALESTINE: 2-9-7-7–25
EAST PALESTINE SCORING: Tyler Bistarkey 2-1-5, Weston Jones 5-2-13, Dom Wycoff 0-2-2, Evan Smith 1-0-2, Aidan McTrustry 0-0-0, Thomas Shasteen 1-0-2, Ryan Rosen 0-1-1. TEAM TOTALS: 9, 6-13: 25.
LEETONIA SCORING: Jaeden Finley 6-0-12, Dylan Lennon 6-5-17, Marco Ferry 2-0-4, Timothy Finch 1-1-3, Ian Davis 1-3-5, Joe Guido 2-1-6, Timmy Johnson 0-1-1. TEAM TOTALS: 18, 11-21: 48.
Three-point goals: East Palestine 1 (Jones 1); Leetonia 1 (Guido 1)