By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
ALLEGANY — The Lions of Wellsville knew exactly what kind of challenge lay ahead on Tuesday. With the final homestretch of the season rapidly approaching, it’s the kind of challenge that the defending Class B2 Champions needed in order to make that hunt towards Sectional glory once again.
That test came in the shape of defending Class B State Final Four finalist Allegany-Limestone, winners of 11 of their first 13 games thus far. With a tremendous amount of pressure being faced given the caliber and the arsenal of weapons that the Gators possess from all angles, the Lions ate it all up early on with a solid first half lead to carry into the locker room.
With the momentum remaining in their favor going into the last eight minutes, the Gators would then fight and claw their way back. Down five going in, a spark was ignited.
The match, struck by Gavin Truman.
The Allegany-Limestone sharpshooter caught fire in the last eight minutes of play, as he went on to score 13 of his game-high 23 points from within the frame in spots ranging from inside, to a three-point basket outside, to multiple clutch freebies at the charity stripe. Truman did it all for the Gators to make sure the win was waiting on the other side through thick and thin, as they fought their way towards a 50-42 victory over Wellsville.
“We played three great quarters of basketball. I’m not sure if I could have said that a month ago. I know we have been improving since then, but at the time, this one also really hurts to lose,” said Lions coach Tom Muska. “I am so proud of the player JJ (Howard) is starting to become. His energy and athleticism is just something other teams can’t match. He had another nice dunk again today to help us really get going on offense to give us that spark we needed against a team like them.”
Both teams posted late 7-0 runs in the back half of the first quarter after an early back-and-forth battle saw the Gators emerge with a narrow lead of the Lions (10-5). Allegany-Limestone was the first to post that run before a Wellsville timeout on the floor, with Truman and Anthony Decapua leading the way with all 10 of the team’s points during that stand.
From the last three minutes and change left in the quarter, the visitors in black and orange shut the Gators offense down to take the lead away, as Cody Costello and Aidan Riley both fronted the attack for the Lions, combining for 10 of the team’s 11 points. As a direct result, an 11-10 advantage was awarded to Wellsville to carry into the second.
In that frame, another back-and-forth battle would ensue before Allegany-Limestone found a groove to ride along, closing the gap to a single point. But the momentum was halted for the last 1:21 of the half, as the Lions went on to score seven unanswered points — the majority of the efforts pitched in by JJ Howard, who scored six of the team’s 15 in the midst of the balanced offensive spurt.
Wellsville would go on to keep clinging onto their 36-31 lead going into the last eight minutes of play where a complete flip of the script was provided by the Gators.
Led by the emergence of Truman all over the floor, Allegany-Limestone was able to overcome all the adversity and shake off Wellsville’s lead by finishing the game with a massive 19-6 run powered by 13 of Truman’s points to go along with some clutch free throw shots between himself and Decapua, as the two shooters combined for a 7-for-10 outing at the charity stripe. Truman went 4-for-4 in the process.
Despite the loss, Costello would fire up the Wellsville offense with his team-high 15 points, while Howard finished with 11 right behind him. Riley posted six points, while Logan Dunbar was held to five points by the Gators defense.
Wellsville now aims to shake it off in their return home next Tuesday night, where they will look to provide the biggest of bounce backs with the Hornell Raiders in town for a 7 p.m. visit in the Den.
Wellsville 11 15 10 6 – 42
Allegany-Limestone 10 8 13 19 – 50
WELLSVILLE: Cody Costello 6 2-2 15, Aidan Riley 2 2-4 6, Asher Billings 1 0-0 2, JJ Howard 5 1-1 11, Logan Dunbar 2 1-1 5, Alex Green 1 1-2 3. Totals: 17 7-10 42.
ALLEGANY-LIMESTONE: Gabe Ramadhan 3 0-0 6, Anthony Decapua 2 5-8 10, Carson Kwiatkowski 1 2-2 5, Michael Frederick 2 2-4 6, Gavin Truman 8 4-4 23. Totals: 15 13-18 50.
3-point goals: Wellsville 1 (Costello), A-L 5 (Truman 3, Decapua, Kwiatkowski).
Total Fouls: Wellsville 16, A-L 14. Fouled out: None.
Genesee Valley/Belfast 42, Arkport/Canaseraga 24
BELFAST — Genesee Valley/Belfast could not have issued a better way to set fire to the offense on Tuesday. Looking to shake things off in order to get back on track, they would go on to do just that and much more, posting a massive first quarter run against visiting Arkport/Canaseraga — the beginning of a dominant performance in Belfast, as the hosts strolled forward towards a 42-24 win.
“We played very well in the first half to open things up. We started to get into some foul trouble, which really slowed us down in the second half, but the way we put things together tonight was incredible,” said GV/Belfast coach Jim Schneider. “We’re fortunate to keep their two bigs in the middle at bay. We were very strong defensively. I was able to give some of the younger kids some great minutes off the bench, so they were ready to step up before and after Anna (Drozdowski) and Mary (Hamer) both came out of the game.”
The hosts never looked in the rearview mirror again after the opening eight minutes started an enormous run they would carry all the way to the end, beginning it with complete dominance on both ends of the floor, as Genesee Valley/Belfast (8-6) posted a 20-1 run of Arkport/Canaseraga with four different contributors all pitching in to help the cause.
The Genesee Valley/Belfast defense would go on to hold the Lady Wolves to just six points altogether, across the first three quarters of play, while they capitalized on big points back the other way to cushion their lead insurmountably.
Mary Hamer and Anna Drozdowski both had a hand at providing big nights on the attack for the hosts, combining to record 22 of the team’s 42 points, with Hamer leading the charge behind her 12 game-high points. Drozdowski added in 10 points, while Abby Sullivan followed with nine.
Genesee Valley/Belfast will look to keep the ball rolling into Thursday when they head back down the road into the Jungle, as they welcome in Friendship/Scio for a 7:30 p.m. visit.
Arkport/Canaseraga 1 2 3 18 – 24
Genesee Valley/Belfast 20 12 4 6 – 42
ARKPORT/CANASERAGA: Reese Payne 1 0-2 2, Grace Groves 1 0-0 3, Jacey Payne 1 0-0 3, Payton O’Dell 0 3-4 3, Morgan Gilbert 1 1-2 3, Caitlyn Gilman 4 2-4 10. Totals: 8 7-12 24.
GV/BELFAST: Anna Drozdowski 4 1-6 10, Abby Sullivan 4 0-0 9, Harley Proctor 1 0-0 2, Kendra Bigelow 0 0-4 0, Adison Grusendorf 2 0-0 4, Madison McKenzie 2 0-0 5, Mary Hamer 6 0-0 12. Totals: 19 1-10 42.
3-point goals: A/C 2 (Groves, J. Payne), GVB 3 (Drozdowski, Sullivan, McKenzie).
Total Fouls: A/C 12, GVB 15. Fouled out: Drozdowski (GVB), Hamer (GVB).
Hammondsport 44, Friendship/Scio 34
SCIO — A long week of basketball ahead for Friendship/Scio began back on Monday with Andover/Whitesville, and continued the very next night right back in Scio on Tuesday with red hot Hammondsport in town for a visit.
Friendship/Scio looked to bounce back after a hard-fought battle with their League counterparts, as they raced stride for stride with the Lady Lakers across the first half. But in the remaining 16 minutes, the visitors would find an opening to invent a winning edge, docking a pair of 11-point quarters to close out the evening on the attack, extending their lead along the way to claim a 44-34 triumph.
Both teams fought tooth and nail across the first half of play in a frame of basketball where Hammondsport was able to maintain possession of an early lead they took from a defensive first quarter, deadlocking with Friendship/Scio (9-5) in the second to remain ahead with a 22-19 lead.
Still within arm’s reach of the Lady Lakers going into the second half, the time to make a move for the hosts was now. But for the visitors in black and purple, they capitalized on big punctuation themselves, as they posted a pair of 11-point quarters in the third and fourth, allowing themselves to garner just enough space to maintain traction on their eventual victory.
Before being fouled out of the battle, Nevaeh Ross took charge of the Friendship/Scio offense with her team-high 18 points, pairing them with 12 rebounds along with five steals to complete a double-double performance. Kadence Donohue was just a few rebounds shy of a double-double herself, contributing 10 points and grabbing six additional boards, while Kiara Grover had four points.
Friendship/Scio will now aim to bounce back with another road trip in store for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, visiting Genesee Valley/Belfast in the Jungle in Belmont.
Hammondsport 9 13 11 11 – 44
Friendship/Scio 6 13 8 7 – 34
HAMMONDSPORT: LaZell Locey 4 0-0 8, Danica Dresser 9 1-1 21, Rachel Wood 1 1-2 3, Sam Pratt 5 0-1 12. Totals: 2-4 44.
FRIENDSHIP/SCIO: Nevaeh Ross 7 4-7 18, Avery Lamberson 0 0-2 0, Kadence Donohue 3 3-4 10, Morghyn Ross 1 0-0 2, Kiara Grover 2 0-1 4. Totals: 13 7-14 34.
3-point goals: Hammondsport 4 (Dresser 2, Pratt 2), F/S 1 (Donohue).
Total Fouls: Hammondsport 19, F/S 12. Fouled out: Pratt (HAM), N. Ross (F/S).
Fillmore 37, Allegany-Limestone 29
FILLMORE — They fell behind in an early defensive battle with Allegany-Limestone on Tuesday, but it was one that the Lady Eagles of Fillmore were able to quickly rebound from, as they coasted towards an excellent finish to the first half with a big run of the Lady Gators to ultimately take the lead away permanently with a 37-29 home win in The Rock.
“After a little bit of a slow start, I thought our two middle quarters were very well-played on both sides of the ball,” said Lady Eagles coach Tom Parks. “We’re still a work in progress in some regards, but we’re seeing more and more signs each game that consistency is coming. We were fortunate to have been able to bottle up (Maddie) Callen a bit because (Amelia) Herzog and (Addison) Fisher had nice nights for them. For us, Hope (Russell) and Rachel (Hatch) really sparked us to give us a nice cushion.:”
The Lady Eagles (8-4) kicked their offense into high gear after battling back and forth with Allegany-Limestone through a defensive first quarter that saw them go down into a quick deficit after it was all said and done. As their response, the hosts in white and green saw collective efforts from all over the floor, including from Hope Russell and Rachel Hatch, two key cogs in Fillmore’s machine that combined to post 21 points across the next two quarters of play.
Among them, a big momentum-turning 16-5 run of the Lady Gators to close out the first half with a 22-14 lead. An advantage that the team would never relieve in the second half, as they used one more piece of cushioning in the third quarter to further cement their eventual victory to claim the series sweep of Allegany-Limestone.
Russell would lead all scorers with a game-high 16 points, while Hatch followed suit with eight points of her own to pace the Lady Eagles offense. Furthering the team’s cause along the way was Mattie McCumiskey, as she chipped in with five points.
Fillmore will stand pat at home for their next battle coming up on Thursday, as they get set to welcome in Andover/Whitesville for a 7:30 p.m. battle in The Rock.
Allegany-Limestone 9 5 6 9 – 29
Fillmore 6 16 10 5 – 37
ALLEGANY-LIMESTONE: Madison Callen 2 0-0 4, Elizabeth Giardini 2 0-0 4, Addison Fisher 4 0-0 9, Amelia Herzog 5 0-0 11, Francesca Klice 0 1-4 1. Totals: 13 1-4 29.
FILLMORE: Hope Russell 5 4-6 16, Grace Russell 1 1-2 4, Rachel Hatch 3 2-2 8, Kylee Ellsworth 0 2-2 2, Mattie McCumiskey 1 3-4 5, Preslee Miller 1 0-4 2. Totals: 11 12-20 37.
3-point goals: A-L 2 (Fisher, Herzog), Fillmore 1 (H. Russell).
Total Fouls: A-L 15, Fillmore 9. Fouled out: None.
Canisteo-Greenwood 57, Cuba-Rushford 27
CANISTEO — The first eight minutes were incredibly electrifying for the Lady Redskins of Canisteo-Greenwood in what was their final regular season home game of the season, as they held visiting Cuba-Rushford in a complete freeze with a scoreless run to set the tone immediately, building a lead they would never lose to remain undefeated with a 57-27 win over the Lady Rebels on Tuesday.
Lillian Mullen was the biggest contributor to Canisteo-Greenwood’s (16-0) incredible start to the night on their home floor. The team as a collective would hold Cuba-Rushford at a standstill with a scoreless 22-0 jaunt, with Mullen netting 15 of the team’s points from within the frame to set up shop. The Lady Redskins junior would finish leading all scorers with a game-high 18 points to pair with six assists.
The Lady Rebels (6-7) would chip away at the deficit with a strong finish to the end of the first half, as Taylor Searle and Brynn Lavery combined to record all 12 of the team’s points. But the hosts in white and red would pull away in the third quarter, posting one final run of their opposition propelled by Brooke Burd from down low, netting eight of her 15 points in the stanza.
Burd would finish right behind Mullen on the scoresheet, recording 15 points to go alongside with four rebounds and three blocks — the latter assisting in eclipsing the century mark in her career. Bailey Mullen was the third and final Lady Redskins sharpshooter to surpass the 10-point mark, hitting it on the nose directly to go with six rebounds and four steals.
Elaine Roach and Hailey Davis each grabbed six additional boards for the hosts, who will wrap up regular season play in Addison at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday.
Cuba-Rushford was led by Searle, who posted a team-high 16 points. Lavery finished with six points, while Cloey Larabee rounded off the scoring with the remaining five points.
The Lady Rebels will look to bounce back inside the Wighthouse Friday night, as they welcome in the Houghton Academy Lady Panthers for a 6 p.m. visit.
Cuba-Rushford 0 12 9 6 – 27
Canisteo-Greenwood 22 14 16 5 – 57
CUBA-RUSHFORD: Cloey Larabee 2 0-0 5, Brynn Lavery 2 2-2 6, Aleah Demick 0 0-2 0, Taylor Searle 6 2-2 16, Raegan Poore 0 0-2 0. Totals: 10 4-8 27.
CANISTEO-GREENWOOD: Bailey Mullen 4 2-3 10, Elaine Roach 2 1-2 5, Kennedy Richardson 0 1-2 1, Lillian Mullen 8 0-2 18, Peyton Peters 3 0-3 6, Brooke Burd 7 1-4 15, Sara Coddington 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 5-16 57.
3-point goals: C-R 3 (Searle 2, Larabee), C-G 2 (L. Mullen).
Total Fouls: C-R 11, C-G 8. Fouled out: Poore (C-R).
Andover/Whitesville 54, Bolivar-Richburg 15
BOLIVAR — Vanessa Hall found her stroke bright and early for Andover/Whitesville, as she ignited the offense with a massive outing which helped them jumpstart a 22-point opening eight minutes — a period they never looked back on, setting the tone on what was a 54-15 road win over host Bolivar-Richburg on Tuesday.
Hall propelled Andover/Whitesville (10-3) towards a phenomenal start to their game in the first quarter, posting 15 of her game-high 26 points from within the frame. The big burst would allow them to record a big 22-4 run of the Lady Wolverines that helped them set a high bar that would remain unmatched over the course of time.
Finishing behind Hall was Kennedy Bledsoe, who posted 14 points to contribute towards the cause. Zoe Baert chipped in with six points.
For Bolivar-Richburg (4-8), Emma Sisson and Caitlyn Steiner each led the way with four points.
Both teams are back on the floor in a pair of 7:30 p.m. tip-offs on Thursday, as Andover/Whitesville continues their road swing into Fillmore to face the Lady Eagles, while the Lady Wolverines remain at home to host Hinsdale.
Andover/Whitesville 22 15 14 3 – 54
Bolivar-Richburg 4 6 0 5 – 15
ANDOVER/WHITESVILLE: Lexy Palmatier 1 0-0 2, Vanessa Hall 10 4-4 26, Graci Lewis-Ellison 1 0-0 2, Gabby Terhune 1 0-0 2, Zoe Baert 3 0-0 6, Gabbi Hall 1 0-0 2, Kennedy Bledsoe 5 4-6 14. Totals: 22 8-10 54.
BOLIVAR-RICHBURG: Nadia Baldwin 1 1-2 3, Emma Sisson 2 0-0 4, Raegan Giardini 0 1-2 1, Carmen Crowley 1 1-2 3, Malayna Ayers 0 0-2 0, Caitlyn Steiner 2 0-1 4. Totals: 6 3-9 15.
3-point goals: A/W 2 (V. Hall).
Total Fouls: A/W 14, B-R 11. Fouled out: None.
School of the Arts 51, Houghton Academy 47
ROCHESTER — The Lady Panthers of Houghton Academy fell behind by as much as 13 to the Rochester School of the Arts during their Tuesday road trip. But the majority of the deficit was made up in clutch fashion down the stretch, as they turned up the heat on their opposition to close out the night.
Although the spark helped create their largest frame of offense in the game, the Rochester School of the Arts would do just enough in the final stages to ward off the late push the Lady Panthers stacked against them, as they squeezed their way towards victory by a 51-47 count to claim the season series with their sweep.
Before posting their strongest outing of offense against the School of the Arts, the Lady Panthers (2-10) had to shake off some pressure they were faced with early by the hosts that saw them go down by a 27-20 count at the break. The deficit would climb higher after the School of the Arts delivered another blow with a narrow 14-9 run that saw their lead eclipse to double digits.
Entering the last eight minutes of play, Houghton Academy was able to bring it all together for one final push. Led by another stellar night from Jess Prentice down low, the Lady Panthers scored an 18-9 double-up in the fourth quarter to stay right on their opposition’s coattails. But despite trimming the deficit down to four, it would not be enough to overcome in the end, as the School of the Arts hung on to record the season-series sweep.
Prentice led all scorers with a game-high 29 points for Houghton Academy. Following behind was Jessica Adenuga, who had eight points of her own to add. Laura Maya had six points.
The Lady Panthers hit the road tonight for Archbishop Walsh, beginning at 5 p.m.
Houghton Academy 6 14 9 18 – 47
School of the Arts 11 17 14 9 – 51
HOUGHTON ACADEMY: Jess Prentice 10 8-9 29, Jessica Adenuga 3 2-8 8, Laura Maya 3 0-0 6, Julia Winkens 1 1-2 3, Abby Reitnour 0 1-2 1. Totals: 17 12-21 47.
SCHOOL OF THE ARTS: Jazlynn Logan 11 4-5 26, Nina Pallotta 1 0-0 2, Maya Williams 5 4-6 14, Son’ger McCullough 3 0-0 6, Breyelle Geiger 1 0-0 2, Kayona Toney 0 1-2 1. Totals: 21 9-13 51.
3-point goals: HA 1 (Prentice), SOA 2 (Logan).
Total Fouls: HA 8, SOA 15. Fouled out: None.