Caden Allen with a poster for his 100th win in wrestling.
By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
ALLEGANY — The Lions of Wellsville have seen plenty of tough competition throughout the opening stages of their Class B2 title defense thus far, this season.
Two tournament title wins in their first four games, including a dominant performance in this year’s edition of the IAABO Tournament, as well as two more gritty wins against Bath-Haverling and Fillmore along the way, have set the stage for a 6-1 start entering their two-day tenure in the Swamp for the Joe DeCerbo IAABO Tournament at Allegany-Limestone.
A tournament that might feature some of their toughest competition to date.
Back on Thursday, the Lions opened up with a strong back-and-forth duel alongside one of Pennsylvania’s top teams in Otto-Eldred, who entered the tournament undefeated on the season, and remained as such after a brilliant 4th quarter comeback allowed them to cash in on a chance at the championship the next day.
Wellsville however, dropped down into Consolation round festivities, where they concluded their tenure with another solid opponent waiting in the wings — the Bradford Owls.
Like their previous battle with the Terrors, it was a contest that the Lions predominantly controlled from the start, as they scored on a pair of 19-point frames to begin each half with the lead in hand. But like in all sports, no lead is ever safe.
Bradford made sure of that.
Down by 10 going into the fourth quarter, the Owls provided a magnificent comeback against Wellsville, providing an outscoring that was more than double on the scoreboard to cap off a rally that saw them tie the ball game at 51 going into overtime. With it, they would go on to keep the momentum in their favor by remaining one step ahead of the Lions, as they completed a rebounding victory with a 56-54 triumph.
“It was the same story again tonight, as yesterday,” Lions coach Tom Muska said. “The other team digs in deep to make a run later, and we struggled to handle their pressure. Because of it, it was hard to match that level of intensity and focus. It’s another game for us to learn from going forward. We’re hungry to taste victory again right now. We just have to do what we can to be better for next week.”
It was a night on offense that was generated off a humongous performance from Logan Dunbar for the Lions (6-3), as he fired on all cylinders right from the start with 10 of the team’s 19 points in the opening quarter. After the spurt of speed and fury, both teams began to buckle down defensively, especially the Owls, as they went on to hold Wellsville to a single shot from the field off the hand of Asher Billings to pair with a 4-for-6 outing by Dunbar at the line.
Bradford would cut their deficit down to just three points going into the break, but the re-ignition of Dunbar’s hot hand propelled Wellsville back into prime position with an extension to their lead, pushing it out to double digits entering the last eight minutes of play.
It was last call for the Owls to jumpstart their rally. Behind a balanced effort up and down the floor, they would go on to do just that, as they held Wellsville in check behind a 17-7 run to tie the game at 51, forcing overtime in the process. In the extra session, Bradford would maintain the momentum and remain one step ahead to officially complete their comeback.
Despite the defeat, Dunbar finished with a game-high 27 points to pace the Wellsville offense. Aidan Riley furthered the cause on the attack himself with 10 points, while Asher Billings had seven.
Wellsville is back in regular season action on Wednesday after the New Year weekend, as they welcome in the Bath-Haverling Rams for their second and final meeting this year, at 7:30 p.m.
Bolivar-Richburg wrestling wins the two-day Wolverine Scuffle
BOLIVAR — With the Christmas holiday now visible in the rearview mirror, there was still one more holiday gift to be handed out before the calendar year flips to 2023 this weekend — a championship.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the annual two-day Wolverine Scuffle at Bolivar-Richburg was in full effect for all 10 schools in attendance. But no team found the top of the leaderboard quite like the host Wolverines, who had five wrestlers finish with an undefeated 9-0 record to pair with a little more history being written along the way in their first place finish to close out the tournament on Thursday.
Among the grapplers who finished perfect throughout the two-day tournament were Gary McDowell, Trey Buchholz, Tavyn MacDonell, Caden Allen and Trent Sibble. As for the history, the 9-0 perfect record for one of Bolivar-Richburg’s wrestlers would come with an eclipsing of a career statistic. With Buchholz and MacDonell already reaching the century mark earlier this season, Caden Allen was the third to do so, as he officially crossed the 100-career win mark during his tenure on the mat.
Helping further Bolivar-Richburg’s cause was Teegan Sibble, who went an outstanding 8-1 on the mat.
Joining the nine other participating visitors to Bolivar-Richburg’s home duals was Fillmore/Keshequa, who went 5-4 overall during their stay.
Regular season action for both wrestling clubs will resume on Tuesday after the New Year weekend, as Bolivar-Richburg hosts Addison at 6:15 p.m, while Fillmore/Keshequa visits Alfred-Almond in a 6 p.m. bout of their own.