By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
WELLSVILLE — With one tournament championship title already under their belts during their time spent in Attica to start the season, a chance to start the season with four straight wins and another title was up for grabs on Saturday, back from within the confines of the Lion’s Den.
Just like how the action unfolded in last year, it was the same case scenario again in this year’s IAABO Tournament back in Wellsville, where another battle between Fillmore and the host Lions would come into formation.
Only this time around, Cody Costello and Logan Dunbar would take care of business.
Wellsville’s dynamic duo was simply unstoppable on offense, as the two sharpshooters combined to record 45 of the team’s 70 points while the defense helped fuel it all with another outstanding effort on the opposite end of the floor, led by a fast start in the first eight minutes and built upon later with a game-sealing third quarter run that gave them all the room they needed to become back-to-back IAABO Tournament champions with a 70-46 win over the Eagles.
“It always feels good to be 4-0 to start the season,” said Lions coach Tom Muska. “I’m really proud of that run we were able to make in the third quarter. Everything for us really starts on the defensive end, and it’s something that we’ve always preached since day one. We need to keep that focus into next week to stay on top.”
That rhythm Wellsville (4-0) provided was simply melodic, and it helped a phenomenal start against a fast-paced Fillmore squad in the opening eight minutes. With the inside game led by Dunbar and JJ Howard down low, the Lions were able to produce a run with seven of the first eight points trending in their direction.
But a short time later, a long Jair Bialek three would set up a run of their own that would see the Eagles (2-1) close the gap to within a stone’s throw of the hosts in black and orange, scoring seven of the next eight on the board. There was hope that the momentum would remain in their favor, but each time, Wellsville discovered new ways to put it to rest, with the first occasion coming right at the end of the quarter with Cody Costello nailing back-to-back threes to close out a 6-0 run to double their lead.
In the second quarter, a 20-10 lead would form for the Lions and then grow even more with nine of the next 12 points paced by the three-point game once more, by Costello and Howard. Fillmore would close out the half on a strong note with the last bucket before the buzzer, cutting their deficit down to eight and a slight burst of momentum to carry into the locker room.
But what energy was built, was disintegrated by the Lions defense in what was their standout time to shine in the third quarter when they held the Eagles to just four points on the floor while the offense, led by Costello’s hot hand, syphoned energy from the numerous stops on defense that they were able to make along the way. In all, Wellsville accounted for a humongous 21-4 run of Fillmore to essentially close out the game permanently, recording back-to-back IAABO titles in the process.
“Cody was amazing on both ends of the floor for us today. There is a lot on his shoulders as far as handling all of the pressure he faces, and keeping us in rhythm. He handled it tremendously well. That kid is afraid of nothing that he is faced with, and it shows on the court.” said Muska of his senior.
Costello was Wellsville’s leading scorer, as he recorded five of the team’s nine three-pointers to put toward his game-high 23 point effort. Dunbar was right behind him in the scorebook, netting 22 points of his own to complete the two-headed attack for the Lions. Adding collaborative efforts along the way was JJ Howard, who was dominant underneath with a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double, and Ty Vogel who launched two threes for six points.
Fillmore was led by Mitch Ward, who tallied a team-high 11 points. Eben Schilke sank three treys, for nine points, while Zach Sisson finished with seven points.
Prior to Wellsville being crowned champions once again this year, the day began with an explosive Consolation game between Cuba-Rushford and C.G. Finney. Both teams were scorching hot from three-point land all game long, as they combined to record 25 altogether to set the stage for their offenses.
In what was truly a back-and-forth game filled with runs, it would come straight down to the wire. As the Falcons closed the gap to a single basket in the game’s final minute, the pressure was on for the Rebels to maintain their position at the top. After multiple in-bounds and a bounty of fouls from their opposition, they would finally find themselves in a position to lock the game up.
With two big 1-and-1s to finish off, Jacob Smith nailed two shots, the latter of which pushed the Cuba-Rushford lead out to two possessions with less than a second left. Despite a buzzer-beating heave from midcourt by the Falcons immediately after, time would run out on their comeback, as the Rebels held on for dear life to record a split during their tenure at the IAABO Tournament with a 62-61 edging of C.G. Finney.
“I could not be more proud of the way our guys responded after last night. Luke (Brooks), Jack (Frank) and Jacob did an excellent job of taking care of the basketball under a lot of pressure against them,” said Rebels interim head coach Rob Wight. “Braeden (Wight) and Hunter (Scott) did a great job shooting the basketball to help the cause as well. Overall, I was really impressed with our intensity of defense with rebounding, especially being outsized by Finney.”
Back and forth all throughout the game, baskets aplenty were exchanged between both teams. No quarter across the board was decided by more than three points when the conclusion was met. For the Rebels (5-1), it came down to some big special teams play through the second half to keep their 33-28 halftime lead intact — five of those points coming in row after a 28-28 tie in the last minute.
In the third quarter, the Rebels were able to build an early run led by a pair of back-to-back baskets from Jack Frank and Hunter Scott, off a huge Jacob Smith block to set it up. On the other side, the Falcons were able to close the gap to as small as two off some key turnovers forced by the defense. It would then come down to a single basket after two consecutive treys from Nick Pasquantonio and Tyus Rodes ended the quarter strongly for the team in white and green.
The three-point bonanza between both squads carried into the last eight minute period with the majority of the shots all being scored from long range. Because of it, Cuba-Rushford was able to provide the countering responses right back to C.G. Finney to remain out in the lead, using some clutch free throw shooting down the stretch from Smith in the game’s final minute to push their lead out insurmountably, despite a last second hurl from midcourt at the buzzer from the Falcons.
With it, would come their fifth win in the first six games, as the Rebels completed their bounce back afternoon to claim third place in the tournament.
Hunter Scott was Cuba-Rushford’s leading scorer after a fiery game from Main Street in Wellsville, knocking down six of the team’s 13 total three-pointers in the battle, en route to a game-high 20 points. Braeden Wight had four more of his own, for 12 points. Jacob Smith was a point shy from finishing with a double-double, netting nine points to couple with his 11 assists and six rebounds.
Luke Brooks added some special teams help of his own off the glass, grabbing seven additional rebounds.
Listed below are the next game for all three local participants in this year’s edition of the IAABO Tournament:
Wellsville: at Bath-Haverling, Tuesday 7 p.m.
C-R: at Bolivar-Richburg, Thursday 7:30 p.m.
Fillmore: at GV/Belfast, Friday 7:30 p.m. (at GV)
Cuba-Rushford 14 19 17 12 – 62
C.G. Finney 12 16 20 13 – 61
CUBA-RUSHFORD: Braeden Wight 4 0-0 12, Jacob Smith 3 2-4 9, Luke Brooks 3 1-2 7, Jack Frank 4 0-0 8, Hunter Scott 7 0-0 20, Finn Ricketts 2 0-0 6. Totals: 23 3-6 62.
FINNEY: Tyus Rodes 3 4-5 12, Braelen Broome 4 1-2 13, Nick Pasquantonio 6 2-2 15, Ethan Krog 4 0-0 12, Diego Bessette 2 0-0 5, Josh Saurez 2 0-0 4. Totals: 21 7-9 61.
3-point goals: C-R 13 (Scott 6, Wight 4, Ricketts 2, Smith), Finney 12 (Broome 4, Krog 4, Rodes 2, Pasquantonio, Bessette).
Total Fouls: C-R 10, Finney 11. Fouled out: None.
Fillmore 8 15 4 19 – 46
Wellsville 16 15 21 18 – 70
FILLMORE: Eben Schilke 3 0-0 9, Brent Zubikowski 0 1-2 1, Jair Bialek 1 0-0 3, Marcus Wolfer 1 0-0 3, Luke Colombo 1 1-2 3, Mitch Ward 3 5-9 11, Zach Sisson 1 4-5 7, Jonah Bialek 1 0-0 3, Layton Sanasith 1 1-2 3, Brandon Buck 1 0-0 3. Totals: 13 12-20 46.
WELLSVILLE: Cody Costello 8 2-2 23, Aidan Riley 2 0-0 5, Cooper Brockway 1 0-0 2, Asher Billings 0 2-4 2, Ty Vogel 2 0-0 6, Logan Dunbar 9 4-7 22, JJ Howard 4 1-1 10. Totals: 26 9-14 70.
3-point goals: Fillmore 8 (Schilke 3, Ja. Bialek, Wolfer, Sisson, Jo. Bialek, Buck), Wellsville 9 (Costello 5, Vogel 2, Riley, Howard).
Total Fouls: Fillmore 14, Wellsville 17. Fouled out: None.
GV/Belfast falls in Jack Bush title game, And/Whi claims Consolation honors
WESTFIELD, Pa. — On the final day of the Jack Bush Tournament down below the border, both Allegany County squads in Andover/Whitesville and Genesee Valley/Belfast would round off their tenures fighting for Consolation and Championship bragging rights, Saturday evening.
Starting off the night: a tough battle that Andover/Whitesville had to endure from Northern Potter from start to finish. Despite falling behind early, ground was made along the way until the fourth quarter, where they were able to do just enough with some big time help at the charity stripe, along with a pair of threes from Jack Belmont and Brody Vance to secure their lead for good in what was a 53-47 Consolation round win.
“This was a great team win for our guys,” said Andover/Whitesville coach Jimmy Joyce. “Northern Potter came out and really had us on our heels with their tough press defense. They are a tough group to play against. We finally settled down after the first quarter and stepped up our man-to-man defense, which seemed to work for the most part.”
Andover/Whitesville (2-3) found themselves behind the eight-ball early on in the opening quarter, when Northern Potter broke the game open with their largest frame of offense, led by big baskets inside by Ethan Fuhrer, and the three-point game of Ty Daniels. As a result, they would garner the first edge by an 18-11 count to carry forward.
But then the well-oiled machine would soon kick into gear for the team in black and purple, as they unleashed an all-balanced attack in the second quarter to finish the first half strong, holding Northern Potter to just three field goals along the way on defense to cut their deficit down to a single point heading into the break.
Andover/Whitesville would find a way to tie the game to create even playing ground going into the fourth quarter, as CJ Estep’s game began to flare up with seven of the team’s 15 points — all inside the arc, helping push the team’s way towards a 39-39 tie.
In the final eight minutes, the momentum would remain in Andover/Whitesville’s favor, as they recorded a 14-8 outscoring of Northern Potter, with the majority of their contributions coming from the free throw line, and a pair of clutch threes from Belmont and Vance to secure their victory for good.
Estep was Andover/Whitesville’s leading scorer with a game-high 17 points. Belmont and Colton Calladine each chipped in with eight points, while Gage Hall helped the team’s efforts down the stretch with a 5-for-9 outing at the stripe, for five points — three of them in the fourth quarter.
After Andover/Whitesville locked up Consolation round honors, it was Genesee Valley/Belfast’s turn to battle for another tournament championship to start their campaign, being pitted against host Cowanesque Valley.
Both squads navigated their way across the first quarter through even playing ground, but the tables would turn immediately after, as the host Indians went on to outscore Genesee Valley/Belfast in each of the remaining three frames of play including a big second quarter that put them ahead for good, laying claim to a championship victory by a 47-29 count.
Northern Potter was able to grab the lead after fighting right alongside Genesee Valley/Belfast (4-2) across the opening quarter of play, as big efforts from Ty Daniels and Nolen Smith assisted in commencing a 16-7 second quarter run that pushed out the advantage towards double digits — a span that the Panthers would hold onto for the remainder of the game.
Max Wedge led all Genesee Valley/Belfast scorers with seven team-high points. Kadin Logue chipped in with five points, while Jacob Borden finished with four, on his way to an All-Tournament selection.
Listed below are the next game which will take place for both local participants in the Jack Bush Tournament:
GV/Belfast: vs Fillmore, Friday 7:30 p.m. (at GV)
And/Whi: vs Avoca/Prattsburgh, Monday 7:30 p.m. (at AND)
Andover/Whitesville 11 13 15 14 – 53
Northern Potter 18 7 14 8 – 47
ANDOVER/WHITESVILLE: Will Kent 2 0-0 4, CJ Estep 6 4-8 17, Colton Calladine 3 2-5 8, Kohler Niedermaier 2 0-4 4, Jack Belmont 2 2-3 8, Derek Perkins 1 0-0 2, Brody Vance 1 0-1 3, Gage Hall 0 5-9 5. Totals: 17 13-30 53.
NORTHERN POTTER: Mark Kicklighter 1 0-1 2, Ty Daniels 5 3-5 15, Noah Cady 1 0-4 2, Nolen Smith 4 3-4 12, Ethan Fuhrer 4 0-0 8, Malachi Lewis 3 1-2 7, Logan Chapman 0 1-2 1. Totals: 18 8-18 47.
3-point goals: A/W 3 (Belmont 2, Estep), NP 3 (Daniels 2, Smith).
Total Fouls: A/W 18, NP 25. Fouled out: Kicklighter (NP), Fuhrer (NP), Lewis (NP).
Genesee Valley/Belfast 8 7 6 8 – 29
Cowanesque Valley 8 16 13 10 – 47
GV/BELFAST: Brayden Cooper 1 0-0 2, Kadin Logue 2 0-0 5, Owen Heaney 1 0-0 2, Elden Aquila 0 2-4 2, Kyle McCumiskey 1 0-1 3, Max Wedge 3 0-2 7, Jacob Borden 2 0-2 4, Thai Norasethaporn 1 0-0 3, Ryan Daciw 1 0-0 2. Totals: 11 3-11 29.
COWANESQUE VALLEY: Fletcher Good 4 3-5 11, Cayden Moon 7 2-2 24, Carter Ackley 1 0-0 2, Jordan Bargeson 2 1-2 6, Julian Francis 1 0-0 2, Larson Swimley 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 6-9 47.
3-point goals: GVB 4 (Logue, McCumiskey, Wedge, Norasethaporn), CV 5 (Moon 4, Bargeson).
Total Fouls: GVB 15, CV 15. Fouled out: None.
Wellsville captures Jack Bush title over Cowanesque Valley
WESTFIELD, Pa. — The Lady Lions of Wellsville quickly started to make up ground after they fell into an early 0-2 hold to begin their season. After the team’s strong debut at the Jack Bush Tournament at Cowanesque Valley just 24 hours ago, the hope was to use the victory over North Penn-Mansfield as motivation for an even stronger finish to the weekend.
That will have to come against the host Lady Indians in the Championship game — the final battle of the night.
In the midst of a slow activation through the opening half, the Lady Lions were able to grab the early hop, using some key defense in the first quarter to get them started. After Cowanesque Valley trimmed the deficit down to one at the half, the reset button would be pressed on both sides.
When the second half came around, a complete flip of the script.
With a 14-13 narrow advantage in their grasp, Wellsville would break loose in the third quarter, using both ends of the floor to their utmost of advantages, scoring a massive run while holding the hosts in check to just seven points, further distancing their lead on Cowanesque Valley ultimately for good to seal up a championship-clinching victory by a 44-25 count.
“We got up by six or seven, and there was a time where we couldn’t hold it. But the third quarter was big, and Makenna (Dunbar) helped us out through that with some good looks,” Lady Lions coach Michelle Alvord said. “I thought Sara (Reitz) had us in the game along with her early on, but it was a matter of being consistent enough to win the game. Basketball is a game of runs, so we just had to tighten up a couple of things. Once they started making buckets, they never had any responses. This was a good win to get a tournament title to get back to .500.”
Dunbar’s presence would be evidently felt in the second half when Wellsville (2-2) broke the door down after their one-point lead at the break over Cowanesque Valley, as the Lady Lions were able to concoct a 20-7 run across the third quarter under her guidance that saw their lead grow exponentially larger before one final run in the fourth was able to serve was a successful game-ending building block.
At the end of the night, Dunbar would earn MVP honors for the Lady Lions, as she scored 14 game-high points to pair with 14 rebounds to complete her double-double. Emily Robbins was not far behind, as she added in an All-Tournament effort of 11 points, coupling them with four rebounds, four assists and four steals along the way.
Sara Reitz sank seven additional points, while Averee Palmatier continued to pave the lane for special teams with five rebounds.
Wellsville will continue their road swing with a 7 p.m. road trip in store for Tuesday evening, as they visit the Lady Mustangs of Dansville.
“They still have a pretty good group coming back,” Alvord said of Dansville. “We definitely will have to prepare for what they have to bring with the experience they have. They’re a lot like Canisteo-Greenwood, and it will be another one of those games that serves as an early indicator for us when Sectional comes. It will be a good test.”
Wellsville 8 5 20 11 – 44
Cowanesque Valley 2 11 7 5 – 25
WELLSVILLE: Lindsay Stuck 1 0-1 2, Natalie Adams 1 3-6 5, Emily Robbins 3 4-5 11, Sara Reitz 2 2-4 7, Averee Palmatier 1 3-5 5, Makenna Dunbar 6 2-4 14. Totals: 14 14-25 44.
COWANESQUE VALLEY: Ashley Woodring 1 0-0 2, Ella Churchill 4 3-8 11, Mack Surine 0 1-2 1, Paisley Nudd 3 3-4 11. Totals: 8 7-15 25.
3-point goals: Wellsville 2 (Robbins, Reitz), CV 2 (Nudd).
Total Fouls: Wellsville 17, CV 21. Fouled out: Surine (CV).
Lady Rebels secure back-to-back Christmas Tourney titles, Houghton wins Consolation
SCIO — When all four teams met up in Scio one final time to finish off Christmas Tournament festivities on Saturday, the Championship game would see an incredible battle between Cuba-Rushford’s Taylor Searle and Friendship/Scio’s Nevaeh Ross.
Each shooter would provide a big spark across both halves of their championship fight to the finish, with both handing out solid contributions across a dead heat in the first 16 minutes. With a five-point lead to control in the second half, Friendship/Scio looked to keep the upper edge.
But for the Lady Rebels, Searle exploded.
The Cuba-Rushford senior went on an absolute tear across the remaining 16 minutes of action, scoring 25 of her season-high 38 points — 14 of them in the team’s 20-point third quarter to get the ball rolling towards what would ultimately become a Scio Christmas Tournament title for the Lady Rebels, their sixth in the last seven seasons, by a 51-46 edge.
“This was another game where we faced some adversity early on, and I’m really happy with how we were able to respond. We are starting to show some more maturity,” Lady Rebels coach Aaron Wight said. “Taylor was tough, and she did it all with four fouls late in the third. She played really smart basketball from there on out, and still gave us everything she had offensively. Nevaeh had a great game for them as well, also with foul trouble.”
A large amount of noise was created by both Searle and Ross right out of the gate to begin the championship game, as the two sharpshooters combined to record 18 of the 24 first quarter points that were scored, with Ross netting 10 of those points to help establish an early Friendship/Scio lead.
The advantage would slowly be trimmed down as time went on, with the Lady Rebels (3-3) creeping closer behind Searle’s guidance in the second quarter, before the fireworks increased in size and magnitude in the second half. Searle would then go on a humongous tear to pace the offense towards new heights, recording a 20-10 third quarter doubling-up of Friendship/Scio along the way to take control of their first lead.
Searle would then keep the pedal to the metal in the last eight minutes of play, as she battled Ross one last time to help Cuba-Rushford hang on for victory, and the tournament’s grand prize in the end. Finishing behind Searle’s monster night on offense was Brynn Lavery, who had nine points. Rounding off were Emma Retz and Tara Duvall, both scoring a basket inside.
For Friendship/Scio (2-2), Ross would conclude her evening with a season-high 27 points. Logan Roberts dropped a pair of threes into the wheelhouse, for six points, while Kadence Donohue had five.
“My girls played with a lot of heart and effort tonight,” Friendship/Scio coach Ashleigh Lewis said. “Every game, we are seeing improvement and showing a lot of good things. Now, it’s just putting all the pieces together for a full game. Searle got away from us in the second half, and we missed some critical opportunities on the offensive end. Cuba is a scrappy team with a lot of hustle, and we just turned the ball over too many times.”
Beforehand, in the tournament’s Consolation round, Houghton Academy was able to overcome an early hole to the hands of Hinsdale in the opening sequence to build a strong finish to the first half, as they rolled their way ahead of the Lady Bobcats to conclude the evening victoriously with a 40-19 triumph.
The Lady Bobcats worked their way through a slow-paced opening quarter to gain traction on the game’s first lead over Houghton Academy (1-3), but it was soon erased in the next quarter by the Lady Panthers, who used what would morph into a 14-2 run to springboard ahead into the driver’s seat, assuming control from that point on to secure a split of their tenure at this weekend’s holiday twinbill.
Leading the scoring efforts for the Lady Panthers, was Jess Prentice and her game-high 23 points. Jessica Adenuga followed behind with 15 points of her own, while Laura Maya had a two-point basket inside to round off. For Hinsdale (0-4), Hannah Sutton led all scorers with eight team-high points. Jaylee Jimerson chipped in with five points of her own.
Listed below are the next upcoming game for all four participants at this year’s Christmas Tournament in Scio:
C-R: vs Andover/Whitesville, Thursday 7:30 p.m.
Fri/Scio: at Arkport/Canaseraga, Monday 6 p.m.
HA/Hinsdale: Both teams will play again in Hinsdale, Monday 6 p.m.
Houghton Academy 6 14 5 15 – 40
Hinsdale 8 2 4 5 – 19
HOUGHTON ACADEMY: Jess Prentice 9 2-2 23, Jessica Adenuga 7 1-5 15, Laura Maya 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 3-7 40.
HINSDALE: Hannah Sutton 4 0-3 8, Kaylie Foskit 1 0-0 2, Jaylee Jimerson 2 1-3 5, Jenna Sutton 1 0-0 2, Kaleigh Buckles 1 0-0 2. Totals: 9 1-6 19.
3-point goals: HA 3 (Prentice).
Total Fouls: HA 4, Hinsdale 9. Fouled out: None.
Cuba-Rushford 9 10 20 12 – 51
Friendship/Scio 14 9 10 11 – 46
CUBA-RUSHFORD: Emma Retz 1 0-3 2, Brynn Lavery 4 1-2 9, Taylor Searle 16 4-5 38, Tara Duvall 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 5-10 51.
FRIENDSHIP/SCIO: Nevaeh Ross 11 5-5 27, Logan Roberts 2 0-0 6, Kadence Donohue 1 3-6 5, Morghyn Ross 0 2-2 2, Lexi Crossley 1 0-0 2, Kiara Grover 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 10-13 46.
3-point goals: C-R 2 (Searle), F/S 2 (Roberts).
Total Fouls: C-R 18, F/S 15. Fouled out: Maples (C-R).
Bolivar-Richburg 47, Alfred-Almond 26
BOLIVAR — A tight battle through the game’s first quarter window began to develop during Bolivar-Richburg’s Saturday afternoon matinee against Alfred-Almond, as they each worked their way through even playing ground from the start to the finish of it to come away tied.
But then the Lady Wolverines were able to break it loose in the next eight minute session, as the three-point game of Malayna Ayers came to life from downtown to set up a momentum-shifting run to put themselves ahead of the Lady Eagles, ultimately for good, to record the 47-26 home win.
Ayers would break open the game in a humongous way for Bolivar-Richburg (3-2) to break an early 8-8 tie through the first quarter, as she flared up from three-point range, providing a spark that consisted of three treys out of her four in total to jumpstart an 18-5 run of the Lady Eagles to propel themselves into the driver’s seat for the remainder of the battle.
The Lady Wolverines would pull away with one final run in the last eight minutes of play, outscoring Alfred-Almond by a 16-7 count.
Ayers would lead all scorers on the floor with a game-high 20 points. Following behind was a breakout game from Caitlyn Steiner, powering the team’s inside game with 13 points of her own. Emma Sisson concluded with six.
Bolivar-Richburg will now have some time off to prepare for next Friday night’s battle with Cuba-Rushford right back on their home court, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Alfred-Almond 8 5 6 7 – 26
Bolivar-Richburg 8 18 5 16 – 47
ALFRED-ALMOND: Kaylianna Clark 3 0-0 6, Chloe Hann 4 1-2 9, Chloe Bracken 2 0-0 4, Isabel Badeau 2 3-4 7. Totals: 11 4-6 26.
BOLIVAR-RICHBURG: Nadia Baldwin 1 0-2 2, Emma Sisson 3 0-0 6, Raegan Giardini 1 0-0 2, Carmen Crowley 2 0-0 4, Malayna Ayers 8 0-2 20, Caitlyn Steiner 6 1-2 13. Totals: 21 1-6 47.
3-point goals: B-R 4 (Ayers).
Total Fouls: A-A 7, B-R 13. Fouled out: Bracken (A-A).