Hornell’s Noah Kratz and Wellsville’s Logan Dunbar battle for a ball Saturday night. Photo by Steve Harrison.
Video and story by JOHN ANDERSON, photo gallery by STEVE HARRISON
After a close game in Wellsville and a four-point win, the Hornell boys’ basketball team was prepared for another battle in the rivalry.
That part didn’t disapoint. There were blocked shots, the loud Hornell Zoo cheering section, the band and four technical fouls.
But the game was a complete effort on both ends of the court as Hornell took a first quarter lead and never looked back during a 55-46 win Saturday night.
Hornell senior Griffyn Baker understood the gravity of the moment.
“It was awesome … beating Wellsville twice? I don’t think that has ever happened before, so it’s a great senior year,” Baker said. “It was definitely a team effort and everyone had to keep each others emotions in check.”
Baker had 12 points for Hornell (8-5) as part of a balanced scoring effort.
“I didn’t know how many points I had … I just kind of work off the ball,” Baker said. “Gennaro (Picco) is really the one who feeds me most of the time, most of my baskets come from him.
Baker said Hornell is more scrappy that the other teams to make up for the height difference they give up each game.
“Between me, (Dylan) Harwood and Commer, Colin McCumiskey being our bigs, we are all undersized, so we know we have to fight every game,” Baker said.
Sophomore Gennaro Picco had 13 points and two big blocked shots to go with eight assists while Gates Miller had 11 points, Christian Babcock seven and AJ Hoyt had five.
Wellsville center Logan Dunbar had a strong game inside and drained two 3-pointers, finishing with a game-high 22 points and 16 rebounds to go with two steals and two blocks.
Wellsivlle guards Cody Costello and Cooper Brockway kept the Lions in the game with key 3-pointers, scoring 15 and seven respectively. Wellsville is 6-6 and at Bath on Tuesday.
Hornell coach Kirk Scholes said the game plan was to keep rotating defenders on Wellsville guard Eli Schmidt and not let him shoot. Schmidt was fouled a few times and had to pass to open teammates, finishing with two points, eight assists and four steals.
“The biggest thing that sticks out is holding Eli Schmidt to just two. He is a really, really good basketball player, extremely quick and can shoot the ball,” Scholes said. “I thought we did a really nice job on him, trying not to let him get to his left hand and try to stay up into the jump shot as much as we could. We rotated bodies at him over and over and over, probably six different kids guarding him.
“It was a team effort. We can’t let Dunbar get the ball in the post. We have to make them uncomfortable on the offensive end. I thought we did a good job, holding them to 46 is what we wanted to do and had to do.
As for the size, Scholes said, “We use our advantage of athletic ability, speed and we have a lot of gritty kids who are tough. The guards scratch for rebounds and we do our best to keep bigs off the glass. They are starting to understand how physical they have to be. Just because we are undersized doesn’t mean we can;t rebound. I am going to hold them accountable to rebound, because if they can, we can run a little bit.
Hornell is not sure of the next game because the other team has Covid issues.
The Hornell JV team won as well and Scholes has enjoyed watching that team pile up victories (11-2 record).
“It’s a really young group, we only have two sophomores on the JV team, four 8th-graders and the rest are freshman,” Scholes said. “It’s an exciting group of kids and i’m looking forward to the future. I’ve watched how much they work in the off-season and I’m looking forward to coaching them in the coming years.”
Wellsville 12 8 12 14 – 46
Hornell 18 10 14 13 – 55
WELLSVILLE: Cody Costello 5 3-4 15, Cooper Brockway 2 1-2 7, Eli Schmidt 0 2-6 2, Logan Dunbar 8 4-6 22. Totals: 15 10-18 46.
HORNELL: Christian Babcock 3 0-0 7, PJ Picco 1 0-0 2, Gates Miller 4 0-0 11, Shawn Rose 0 1-2 1, Gennaro Picco 5 1-2 13, AJ Hoyt 2 0-0 5, Griffyn Baker 4 3-4 12, Noah Kraatz 1 1-2 4. Totals: 20 6-10 55.
3-point goals: Wellsville 6 (Costello 2, Brockway 2, Dunbar 2), Hornell 9 (Miller 3, G. Picco 2, Babcock, Hoyt, Baker, Kraatz).
Total Fouls: Wellsville 22, Hornell 22. Fouled out: Riley (WLSV), Babcock (HHS), Kraatz (HHS).