By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, Wellsvillesports.com
BATH — After having rattled off four straight wins that saw two tournament championships come from it, a tough three-game stretch consisting of Bath-Haverling, Allegany-Limestone and Olean now lies ahead for the Wellsville Lions.
The game on Thursday against A-L was canceled.
It began on Tuesday with another road trip, beginning against the Rams in a battle that would see them overcome a slow start. Despite it, they would put together their strongest quarter of the game.
The driving force behind it: A season-high night from Aidan Riley.
Out of his game-leading 20 points, the Wellsville senior wasted no time making an early statement to jetfuel the team’s offense, scoring 10 of the team’s 19 points to account for an early lead. The momentum would be held all the way until the end, despite Bath-Haverling chipping away at their deficit each time, as the Lions built up a strong finish in the last eight minutes to record their fifth straight win, taking the 58-46 decision in their early Class B2 clash.
“We played a little sloppy to start this one, but a win is a win. I’m lucky to have kids that can really adapt,” said Lions coach Tom Muska. “Aidan Riley was huge for us tonight. He’s always one of our top defenders against the top player on the other team, but him adding in those 20 points was a huge difference for us. When he had a full head of steam going downhill, he was hard to stop.”
After an early 19-11 lead out of the gate, the Lions (5-0) saw their lead come down to as little as four through three quarters of play, as Bath-Haverling kept chipping away with big assistance from Gavin Price in the third quarter, scoring 10 of his team-leading 12 points in a 16-point third quarter for the Rams.
Now with the Rams within reach, Wellsville made sure to make the last eight minutes some of their best basketball of the night, as they used an all-balanced attack to finish strong — a 17-8 fourth quarter run that extended their lead insurmountably to pick up the big road win.
Finishing behind Riley and his 20 points was Logan Dunbar, and his 15-point effort. JJ Howard chipped in with eight points, while Ty Vogel had seven.
The Lions are back home on Thursday to partake in home opener festivities in the Den, as they welcome in the Allegany-Limestone Gators for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
“5-0 feels good. It’s not going to get any easier,” Muska said. “A-L is a real powerhouse of a program who represented Class B from our area in States last year. We will have to play our best game of the season Thursday to beat them. They’re still a great team, but I’d like to see what we can do to keep this great start going.”
Wellsville 19 9 13 17 – 58
Bath-Haverling 11 11 16 8 – 46
WELLSVILLE: Cody Costello 2 0-1 6, Aidan Riley 9 2-3 20, Ty Vogel 3 0-0 7, Ethan Bailey 0 2-2 2, Logan Dunbar 7 0-0 15, JJ Howard 3 2-2 8. Totals: 24 6-8 58.
BATH-HAVERLING: Ezra Hoad 0 0-1 0, Austin Durand 2 2-4 7, Kobe Moore 2 0-0 4, Caden Minnich 2 0-0 5, Justin Yehl 1 4-6 6, Jacob Hagadone 4 0-0 10, Gavin Price 5 1-1 12, Cameron Seager 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 7-12 46.
3-point goals: Wellsville 4 (Costello 2, Vogel, Dunbar), B-H 5 (Hagadone 2, Durand, Minnich, Price).
Total Fouls: Wellsville 13, B-H 13. Fouled out: Durand (B-H).
Dansville 56, Wellsville 37
DANSVILLE — The Lady Lions of Wellsville hung right alongside with host Dansville through much of the opening half on Tuesday. But some late first half momentum was built going into the break, and with it, the Lady Mustangs would unleash a massive run to open the next session to keep their lead intact permanently to coast their way towards a 56-37 win in the Corral.
“We cut it to four towards the end of the second quarter, and then they went on a run in the third,” Lady Lions coach Michelle Alvord said. “It just got away from us. We got into some early foul trouble, but we were able to weather that storm for the most part. We had too many empty possessions and turnovers, but on the positive side, we did some great things and had some great looks. We just have to continue getting better every day, and it starts in practice.”
Stride for stride across the first quarter, both the Lady Lions and Lady Mustangs went to battle in a dead heat which saw the hosts come out on top with the game’s first advantage. Despite falling behind, Wellsville (2-3) would cut their deficit down to as small as four right before the half would close up, but the Lady Mustangs would remain vigilant and keep their lead intact.
Up 29-21 going into the last 16 minute session, Dansville would put everything together for a humongous third quarter run that allowed them to break away from Wellsville’s grasp — a 17-4 jaunt in all, to secure the victory for good.
Leading Wellsville was Sara Reitz and Makenna Dunbar, as both Lady Lions recorded 10 team-high points, with Dunbar grabbing five boards off the glass in the process. Averee Palmatier added in six points to go with six rebounds, while Emily Robbins helped round off the efforts with five points and five boards of her own.
In the JV contest, Caelyn Stevens and her team-high nine points propelled the Lady Lions over Dansville with a 30-23 win.
The Lady Lions are back home after five contests over the road to open their season, as they host Portville on Friday in their home opener beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Wellsville 13 8 4 12 – 37
Dansville 16 13 17 10 – 56
WELLSVILLE: Lindsay Stuck 0 0-2 0, Natalie Adams 1 0-0 3, Maddy Parks 1 0-0 3, Emily Robbins 2 0-0 5, Sara Reitz 3 1-2 10, Averee Palmatier 3 0-0 6, Makenna Dunbar 4 2-4 10. Totals: 14 3-8 37.
DANSVILLE: Aynsley Belcher 5 0-0 10, Taylor Hamsher 3 0-2 7, Megan Tyler 3 0-0 6, Chelsie Tyler 5 3-4 16, Steph Youngers 1 0-0 2, Eleni Mountzouros 1 0-0 2, Kali Meyer 1 0-0 2, Emma Allen 3 5-6 11. Totals: 22 8-12 56.
3-point goals: Wellsville 6 (Reitz 3, Adams, Parks, Robbins), Dansville 4 (C. Tyler 3, Hamsher).
Total Fouls: Wellsville 9, Dansville 12. Fouled out: None.
Andover/Whitesville 66, Jasper-Troupsburg 18
GREENWOOD — All that was needed was a strong start right out of the gate for Andover/Whitesville to work with, as they buckled down and delivered across all fronts to start their new week of basketball on Tuesday over the road, as they soared past host Jasper-Troupsburg with a 66-18 win — their third straight to open their title defense, in Greenwood.
Vanessa Hall was the fuel to Andover/Whitesville’s (3-0) game-long fire against the Lady Wildcats, as she propelled the team over the top with a game-high 27 points. She was one of three different scorers who would eclipse double digits in scoring along the way, as Zoe Baert and Kennedy Bledsoe each chipped in with 13 points to help further the team’s cause.
Andover/Whitesville would garner the start they wanted right out of the gate, providing a massive emphasis on the first eight minutes with a 16-3 run they would never look back on.
Up next: A visit to Cuba-Rushford, as Andover/Whitesville gets set to take on the host Lady Rebels on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Wighthouse.
Andover/Whitesville 16 13 19 18 – 66
Jasper-Troupsburg 3 4 6 5 – 18
ANDOVER/WHITESVILLE: Lexy Palmatier 1 1-3 3, Vanessa Hall 11 2-2 27, Graci Lewis-Ellison 1 0-2 2, Makaila Brewster 1 0-2 2, Zoe Baert 6 1-4 13, Gabbi Hall 3 0-0 6, Kennedy Bledsoe 6 1-5 13. Totals: 29 5-18 66.
JASPER-TROUPSBURG: Madison Cady 3 3-6 9, Lauren Ross 2 0-0 5, Natalie Cornell 2 0-0 4. Totals: 7 3-6 18.
3-point goals: A/W 3 (V. Hall), J-T 1 (Ross).
Total Fouls: A/W 12, J-T 11. Fouled out: None.