By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
WELLSVILLE — The IAABO Tournament in Wellsville is back in full swing on Friday with the same four teams from a season ago — Cuba-Rushford, Fillmore, C.G. Finney and the defending champion Lions, all battling out for the chance to hold this year’s bragging rights in the annual twinbill.
Leading off were the Rebels and the Eagles in a feature that saw a high-octane start right from the get-go come full circle. That hot beginning would belong to Fillmore, as they used the incandescent hand of Zach Sisson to give them all the room they needed to control the game from start to finish, handing Cuba-Rushford their first loss of the season with a 61-37 first round win.
“We played with a lot of energy early, and we were able to jump onto an early lead,” Eagles coach Randy Crouch said. “Our defense really got us going and it fed our transition game. Cuba-Rushford played really hard, and made a number of runs. We still have to figure out how to blend all the pieces in the half-court, but that’s on me and we will keep working on it. Brent (Zubikowski) and Luke (Colombo) were awesome on both ends, and they provided big buckets when we needed them.”
A stifling 20-6 lead through the first quarter got Fillmore (2-0) started on the biggest of footsteps against the Rebels, as Zach Sisson caught fire all throughout the period with 14 of his game-high 19 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
Ground was made up right before the first half reached its conclusion by Cuba-Rushford (4-1), as Jacob Smith helped lead a charge with half of the stanza’s points from inside to try and sway the momentum in their favor going into the break. But to close out the game, the Eagles would resume control with one final outscoring in the third quarter led by big baskets by Brent Zubikowski and Luke Colombo to put their victory on lock, securing a second straight birth to the title game.
Finishing behind Sisson was Mitch Ward, who recorded 15 points. Zubikowski finished with eight, while Colombo had six.
For the Rebels, Smith was at the top of the stat sheet with a team-high 13 points. Hunter Scott and Luke Brooks each contributed six points, while Peyton Joy had four.
In the nightcap, C.G. Finney and Wellsville locked horns across a tight battle from start to finish. At the same time, it was also a game that the Lions saw some big second half contributions come to light, as Logan Dunbar, Ty Vogel and the three-point game of Cody Costello all shined through the Falcons defense to create enough separation, securing the final spot in the title game with a 58-44 edge to set up their rematch with Fillmore for all of the IAABO marbles.
“All wins feel good, but I love seeing the kids overcome a tough battle here tonight with Finney,” said Lions coach Tom Muska. “Finney is a great program with a lot of young, up and coming talent. I look forward to what they will look like in a year or two from now. We did a better job of executing our game plan in the second half, thanks to some outstanding senior leadership that we have.”
Both teams navigated their way towards a highly-competitive first 16 minutes of play, with Finney winning the battle to begin the night in the opening quarter, when they took a two-point edge on the Lions (3-0) going into the next frame of play. But the tables would turn slightly in Wellsville’s direction, as they took a narrow lead of their own going into the break with the assistance of Logan Dunbar at the line, and a solid stroke from inside by Ty Vogel and his two big baskets.
With a 26-24 edge to carry into the second half, the Lions would build, as a balanced attack from top to bottom helped them produce a big 18-point frame — their largest in the game to extend their lead out to double digits, where it would remain for the rest of the game, as they continued to use all the second half momentum they had in their wheelhouse to secure the win.
Dunbar was Wellsville’s leading scorer, as he concluded with a game-high 18 points. Costello knocked down a pair of big three-pointers in the second half to put toward his eight point effort. Cooper Brockway finished with seven points, while Vogel and JJ Howard finished with six.
The IAABO Tournament will mark its conclusion this afternoon right back inside the Lion’s Den, as Cuba-Rushford and C.G. Finney battle it out in the Consolation round to begin the festivities in a 12 p.m. tip-off, while Fillmore and Wellsville go at it again for this year’s crown later on in the day, at 2 p.m.
Cuba-Rushford 6 12 7 12 – 37
Fillmore 20 12 12 17 – 61
CUBA-RUSHFORD: Braeden Wight 1 0-1 2, Jacob Smith 6 0-0 13, Kaden Bell 1 0-0 2, Luke Brooks 3 0-0 6, Jack Frank 0 0-2 0, Hunter Scott 2 1-1 6, Dom Bello 1 0-0 2, Tristan Clayson 1 0-0 2, Peyton Joy 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 1-4 37.
FILLMORE: Jack Cool 0 1-2 1, Brent Zubikowski 4 0-0 8, Jair Bialek 2 0-0 4, Marcus Wolfer 1 0-0 3, Luke Colombo 2 2-2 6, Mitch Ward 7 1-4 15, Zach Sisson 8 1-1 19, Brayden Hennard 1 0-0 3, Layton Sanasith 1 0-0 2. Totals: 26 5-8 61.
3-point goals: C-R 2 (Smith, Scott), Fillmore 4 (Sisson 2, Wolfer, Hennard).
Total Fouls: C-R 9, Fillmore 9. Fouled out: None.
C.G. Finney 14 10 10 10 – 44
Wellsville 12 14 18 14 – 58
FINNEY: Tyus Rhodes 2 0-0 5, Braelen Broome 4 0-0 8, Nick Pasquantonio 2 0-0 4, Ethan Krog 4 0-0 9, Xavier Owens 0 1-2 1, Diego Bessette 4 0-0 12, Josh Saurez 2 0-0 5. Totals: 18 1-2 44.
WELLSVILLE: Cody Costello 3 0-0 8, Aidan Riley 2 0-0 4, Cooper Brockway 2 2-2 7, Asher Billings 3 0-0 9, Ty Vogel 3 0-0 6, Logan Dunbar 5 8-13 18, JJ Howard 3 0-0 6. Totals: 21 10-15 58.
3-point goals: Finney 7 (Bessette 4, Rhodes, Krog, Saurez), Wellsville 6 (Billings 3, Costello 2, Brockway).
Total Fouls: Finney 16, Wellsville 6. Fouled out: Pasquantonio (FIN).
Jack Bush Tournament at Cowanesque Valley
Genesee Valley/Belfast 57, Northern Potter 38
WESTFIELD, Pa. — A battle ensued through the first eight minutes of play for Genesee Valley/Belfast in their first day of tenure at the Jack Bush Tournament down below the border, Friday evening. Through it, they would remained locked in tightly with Northern Potter until the first half reached its conclusion.
With a nine-point lead to build on going into the second half, the wheels began to churn.
The offense would come to life with two enormous sparks, while the defense in turn, held Northern Potter down with even stronger efforts on the opposite end of the floor — two solid contributions that proved to be enough in the end for Genesee Valley/Belfast to capture a spot in the Championship round the next day, as they coasted towards a 57-38 win in opening round action.
Genesee Valley/Belfast (4-1) could not have done it without a collaborative effort between both Kadin Logue and Jacob Borden, as the two shooters combined to make up 34 of the team’s 57 total points, as they were able to garner the lead they wanted to start with in the first half and hold onto it going into the break, leading Northern Potter by a 33-25 count.
That advantage would only grow larger as time went on, starting in the third quarter when both sides of Genesee Valley/Belfast’s game came into ultimate attainment when they held Northern Potter to just five points while accounting for a 14-5 momentum-shifting run to heighten their lead once and for all to capture their fourth win in the first five games.
Logue was the team’s leading scorer, as he found all of his points from within the arc, totaling a game-high 18 points. Borden came up with his biggest night of the season, scoring a season-high 16 points to follow in Logue’s footsteps. Max Wedge would further the cause even more with eight points of his own accord.
A final score, statistics and a complete box score for the Andover/Whitesville-Cowanesque Valley first round battle following this contest were not made available to report upon the article’s publication.
Genesee Valley/Belfast now moves into the Championship round of the tournament, as they vie for the top prize right back at Cowanesque Valley beginning at 7 p.m. tonight.
Northern Potter 15 10 5 8 – 38
Genesee Valley/Belfast 19 14 14 10 – 57
NORTHERN POTTER: Ty Daniels 5 0-0 14, Wyatt Kibbe 1 0-0 2, Noah Cady 1 0-3 2, Nolen Smith 3 0-0 8, Ethan Fuhrer 2 0-0 4, Malachi Lewis 4 0-0 8. Totals: 16 0-3 38.
GV/BELFAST: Brayden Cooper 1 0-0 2, Kadin Logue 9 0-1 18, Owen Heaney 1 0-0 2, Elden Aquila 1 0-0 2, Kyle McCumiskey 1 0-0 3, Max Wedge 4 0-0 8, Jacob Borden 7 2-4 16, Killian McKnight 1 0-0 2, Thai Norasethaporn 1 0-0 2, Ryan Daciw 1 0-0 2. Totals: 27 2-5 57.
3-point goals: NP 6 (Daniels 4, Smith 2), GVB 1 (McCumiskey).
Total Fouls: NP 7, GVB 13. Fouled out: None.
Bolivar-Richburg 77, Friendship/Scio 27
BOLIVAR — Aydin Sisson, Landon Barkley and Evan Pinney all had a hand in Bolivar-Richburg’s epic night on the attack, as they attained a season-high 77-point performance against visiting Friendship/Scio to remain undefeated through their first four games of the season, coasting towards a 77-22 win on Friday.
The upper hand was garnered right away in the first quarter of play, as the Wolverines (4-0) struck gold out of the gate with a massive 24-point stanza on offense to set the tone automatically with a lead they would never look back on going forward. In turn, the defense would keep Friendship/Scio held in check across all 32 minutes, holding their opposition to below 10 points each time.
Leading the offense was Sisson and his game-high 21 points. Not far behind was Barkley, who had a season-high 20 point evening to go with his three assists and three steals. Pinney contributed 10 points of his own to pair with four rebounds and four assists, while David Baldwin rounded off with nine points and nine boards.
Friendship/Scio (1-2) saw just three scorers reach the scoresheet, with Brenden Loucks and his team-high 14 points leading the efforts. Taylor Moore chipped in six, while Cooper Greenman rounded off the team’s final basket from inside. The team in blue and gold will look to rebound after the weekend in another road trip, visiting Jasper-Troupsburg in a 7:15 p.m. tip-off.
Bolivar-Richburg will go for five straight wins to open their season next week, as they host the Cuba-Rushford Rebels — winners of four of the first five, in a 7:30 p.m. battle.
Friendship/Scio 6 2 8 6 – 22
Bolivar-Richburg 24 19 22 12 – 77
FRIENDSHIP/SCIO: Brenden Loucks 5 4-7 14, Taylor Moore 3 0-0 6, Cooper Greenman 1 0-0 2. Totals: 9 4-7 22.
BOLIVAR-RICHBURG: Aydin Sisson 9 1-3 21, Cayden Gaines 1 0-1 2, Landon Barkley 8 0-0 20, Reiss Gaines 2 0-0 5, David Abdo 1 0-0 2, Trevor Pforter 2 0-0 4, Zach Mitchell 0 0-2 0, Waide Karnuth 2 0-0 4, David Baldwin 4 1-1 9, Evan Pinney 4 0-0 10. Totals: 33 2-7 77.
3-point goals: B-R 9 (Barkley 4, Sisson 2, Pinney 2, R. Gaines).
Total Fouls: F/S 9, B-R 10. Fouled out: None.
Bolivar-Richburg 3, Wellsville 1
RICHBURG — Wellsville was pushed to their limits over the road against Bolivar-Richburg on Friday, but the host Wolverines provided a resilient finish in the match’s final two sets, including a strong third-set win in extra serves to gain the momentum they needed to secure a four-set, 25-18, 22-25, 26-24, 25-22 win over the Lions.
Leading the efforts for the Wolverines (2-1) was Hunter Walp, who recorded a game-high nine kills to go with four aces and two blocks. Pitching in on the offensive front was a strong night of service from Ian Unfus, as he tallied six aces to go with game-high 10 helpers at the front of the net, two kills and two blocks. Dustin Murray followed with four more kills, four aces and a pair of blocks of his own.
On the other side of the net, Wellsville (1-2) was led by Xavier Scott and his team-high eight kills on the attack, adding two digs and two aces along the way. Riley Graves provided five more kills on offense to couple with four digs and three aces, while Joel Janssen finished off the scoring with seven team-high digs on defense, along with four aces.
Both teams are back on the floor in a pair of 6 p.m. Monday contests, as Bolivar-Richburg remains pat at home to host Fillmore, while Wellsville continues their road swing to Cuba-Rushford, squaring off against the unbeaten, defending County Champion Rebels.
Cuba-Rushford 3, Allegany-Limestone 1
ALLEGANY — The Allegany-Limestone Gators have made a strong debut to their first official season in boys volleyball competition thus far, but the defending Allegany County League champions from a year ago had something to say as well.
Three of the four sets featured in their early season fight to the end were all decided by less than five points, including the night’s last where Cuba-Rushford was able to ward off a late Gators push down the home stretch to collect their third straight win to open the season while handing their opposition their first defeat, settling on a four-set win by a 25-21, 25-23, 16-25, 25-23 count, Friday night.
“Allegany-Limestone doesn’t look like a first-year program,” said Rebels coach Nick Perillo. “They have very good athletes, and they play his game really well. All four sets were back and forth, and I was really pleased with the way the guys were able to dig deep and grind out three gritty sets.”
Cuba-Rushford (3-0) saw Max Hinckley and Maddox Keller rise to the occasion on offense, as the two strikers combined to record 18 kills — each had nine kills, to lead the offense. As for the special teams, Allen Fuller helped set it all up in front of the net with a bounty of helpers to his teammates, collecting 24 of them in all to pair with two additional kills of his own.
The Rebels will take aim at a fourth straight win on Monday, hosting Wellsville in a 6 p.m. clash.
Fillmore 3, Genesee Valley/Belfast 2
FILLMORE — Genesee Valley/Belfast and Fillmore would go the complete distance inside The Rock on Friday.
Out of all five sets the two foes would battle and navigate their way through, three of them wound up entering extra serve territory. In each of them, the end result had remained the same — a win for the Eagles, as the hosts in green used some resiliency and prowess to come up with three epic wins, including the night’s last, to squeeze their way past Genesee Valley/Belfast for their first win by a 26-24, 26-24, 20-25, 17-25, 17-15 decision.
Fillmore (1-3) was headlined by a superb night of service from both Patrick Gorman and Nathan Tanner, as each recorded 12 service points to pace the efforts from the back line. On offense, Henry Decker took charge with his team-high eight kills, while Aiden Wagner helped further the team’s cause with three of his own.
For Genesee Valley/Belfast (1-2), Sean Mahon fueled the offensive efforts with his team-high seven kills, pairing them with one ace. Not far behind him was Canaan Sullivan, who had five more kills and one ace. Rounding off was Dominic Marra and his 10 assists at the front of the net.
Both teams are back in action Monday night in a pair of 6 p.m. contests, as Fillmore hits the road to visit Bolivar-Richburg, while Genesee Valley/Belfast heads back home to host Arkport/Canaseraga.