By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
WELLSVILLE — There could very well be another window of opportunity for both Bath-Haverling and Wellsville to climb through when Sectionals makes its grand arrival within the next week and change. With both teams holding the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds behind identical 10-8 records entering the night, prime positioning in the playoff picture was up for grabs.
It was a tale of two halves that unfolded as the night went on, with the Lady Rams fueling up a brilliant start on both ends of the floor to keep the Lady Lions at bay. But eventually, Wellsville would shake it off in favor of a first half-ending spark to cut a deficit that reached as large as 17, down to five.
That spark would then transform into a brand new ballgame come the second half.
After the Lady Rams and Lady Lions exchanged a pair of scoreless runs that would span across the entire third quarter, the Lady Lions would deliver a massive swing in the last eight minutes, stringing together their strongest frame of offense to pull back within reach of their opposition. They would ultimately pull ahead in a back-and-forth battle down to the wire behind a 7-0 run that was later finished off with clutch free throws down the stretch to steal a 45-42 comeback victory on Wednesday.
“We had some great looks early on, but we couldn’t get it to go down at all. But I was really proud of the way they responded,” said Lady Lions coach Michelle Alvord. “We needed to go back to the basics. Get a bucket, get a stop. This is game 19 on our schedule, and I’ve been saying since game three where we needed to crawl back after going down, and sustain it. It’s the game we’ve needed to experience, and if there’s a good time to get it, it’s now. Hopefully this gives us momentum going into Friday, and into Sectionals.”
Wellsville (11-8) had to overcome some early first half woes against a Bath-Haverling defense that held them at a near standstill for much of the first quarter, led by Meredith Czajkowski, who accounted for a bulk of the team’s 15 points to kick the tires on a 15-4 run.
The hole would quickly reach 17 towards midway in the second quarter, but despite it, the Lady Lions shook it off with an Emily Robbins three-pointer serving as the team’s spark plug towards ending the half with a resilient finish. The team would go on and bucket the last 12 points consecutively to keep Bath-Haverling off the board with a massive trimming of their deficit, which would come down to five at the break.
The momentum would remain in the favor of the hosts in white and orange to start the third quarter, as they used it to eventually take the lead away from the Lady Rams for the first time in the contest, scoring an 8-0 run through the first four minutes. In the back half of the frame, Bath-Haverling would then assume control to regain the advantage behind a brilliant closing themselves to carry into the last eight minutes, finishing with the last 10 points in a row to lead, 31-24.
There would be a lot of digging and clawing back into the game for the Lady Lions, who would have to overcome one final deficit in the fourth quarter to complete their comeback victory, doing just that in the midst of a back-and-forth exchange behind a clutch Averee Palmatier basket with three minutes remaining. That basket, along with a Natalie Adams three, would become building blocks in what was a huge 7-0 run for the Lady Lions after a 37-34 Lady Rams lead was erased.
For the rest of the game, the majority of the remaining scores would come at the charity stripe, with Lindsay Stuck locking up the victory with two titanic freebies with 15.7 left on the clock.
Palmatier, along with Emily Robbins and Makenna Dunbar all led the Lady Lions on offense with 10 points each, with Dunbar completing a double-double with 10 rebounds and Palmatier pairing seven boards with her efforts. Sara Reitz finished with six points, while Stuck grabbed five additional boards off the glass to further the special teams cause.
In the JV contest earlier in the night, the Lady Lions saw three different scorers eclipse the 10-point plateau to close out their season on a high note, as they rolled past Bath-Haverling with a 59-13 win. Alexa Stuck led with 14 points, while Caelyn Stevens and Jaden Dunbar chipped in with 12, and 11 points respectively.
The Lady Lions are back on the floor Friday night for their final regular season home contest, hosting the Gananda Lady Panthers in a 6 p.m. tip-off.
Bath-Haverling 15 6 10 11 – 42
Wellsville 4 12 8 21 – 45
BATH-HAVERLING: Leah Krelie 2 0-0 4, Meredith Czajkowski 6 4-4 17, Emma Luckenbach 1 0-0 2, Natalie Krelie 6 0-0 12, Madison Coots 2 0-0 4, Lola Coots 0 1-2 1, Allison Elmore 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 5-6 42.
WELLSVILLE: Lindsay Stuck 0 2-2 2, Natalie Adams 2 2-4 7, Emily Robbins 3 3-6 10, Averee Palmatier 5 0-1 10, Sara Reitz 1 3-4 6, Makenna Dunbar 4 1-2 10. Totals: 15 11-19 45.
3-point goals: B-H 1 (Czajkowski), Wellsville 4 (Adams, Robbins, Reitz, Dunbar)
Total Fouls: B-H 14, Wellsville 10. Fouled out: None.
More stories by Chris Brooks after his photo gallery:
Fillmore 54, Friendship/Scio 35
FRIENDSHIP — With Friendship/Scio right on their trail, the Lady Eagles of Fillmore had to act fast. After going into the break down by three, the team in gray and green made sure they put the second half to good use.
In the third quarter, it was the beginning of big things, as they stormed off on a massive run to reclaim the lead, led by the guidance of Hope Russell. Even though Friendship/Scio remained in sight, Amelia Rose made sure the Lady Eagles remained on top with her three-point game coming into full effect to further secure a 54-35 road win in Friendship, Wednesday night.
Both Fillmore (13-5) and Friendship/Scio traveled side by side all throughout the first half of play, navigating towards a dead even tie through the opening eight minutes before the hosts in white and purple found a narrow opening to close out the second quarter with a three-point, 21-18 edge going into the break.
The Lady Eagles would begin the process of breaking away from Friendship/Scio (10-8), creating a 35-24 lead to carry into the last eight minutes behind one of their largest quarters on offense — a 17-9 run to open the second half strongly. Then, the victory was locked up behind Amelia Rose and her pair of back-to-back three-pointers as the hosts were beginning to chip away at their deficit one last time. She would finish with four of the team’s six three-pointers, for 12 points.
Hope Russell would pace Fillmore’s attack with 14 game-high points. Grace Russell chipped in with eight points, while Mattie McCumiskey had six.
Friendship/Scio was led by Nevaeh Ross and her team-high 11 points to pair with 10 rebounds, completing a double-double performance. Kadence Donohue tallied eight points. Morghyn Ross had seven points.
Both teams are back on the floor Friday night, with Fillmore heading back home to host Cuba-Rushford in a 7:30 p.m. tip-off, while Friendship/Scio looks to rebound with a 6 p.m. contest back in Friendship against Hinsdale.
Fillmore 8 10 17 19 – 54
Friendship/Scio 8 13 9 11 – 35
FILLMORE: Hope Russell 6 0-0 14, Grace Russell 4 0-2 8, Rachel Hatch 2 1-6 5, Amelia Rose 4 0-0 12, Mattie McCumiskey 3 0-0 6, Preslee Miller 1 3-3 5, Madi Geertman 2 0-0 4. Totals: 22 4-11 54.
FRIENDSHIP/SCIO: Nevaeh Ross 2 7-7 11, Logan Roberts 1 0-0 3, Claire Calhoun 2 0-0 6, Kadence Donohue 3 0-0 8, Morghyn Ross 3 1-1 7. Totals: 11 8-8 35.
3-point goals: Fillmore 6 (Rose 4, H. Russell 2), F/S 5 (Calhoun 2, Donohue 2, Roberts).
Total Fouls: Fillmore 11, F/S 11. Fouled out: None.
C.G. Finney 44, Bolivar-Richburg 30
BOLIVAR — The Lady Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg were within reach of visiting C.G. Finney.
Down by four at the break, their hope was to pick up where they left off. But the Lady Falcons had other plans in store for the second half, starting it with eight consecutive points to distance their lead. When it was all said and done, the visitors strung together one final run in the fourth quarter to pull away victoriously with a 44-30 win on Wednesday.
After an early back-and-forth exchange across the first quarter, the Lady Wolverines (7-11) would begin to close their gap behind C.G. Finney towards the tail end of the second, scoring six of the last nine points.
But the Lady Falcons twisted the momentum back into their favor in the second half, starting the third quarter with an 8-0 run of Bolivar-Richburg that would eclipse their lead past the double digit plateau. The run would also give them more room to build in the last eight minutes, as they closed out a victorious night with a 14-7 run.
Malayna Ayers led the scoring for Bolivar-Richburg with 11 team-high points. Nadia Baldwin and Raegan Giardini each tallied seven points, while Carmen Crowley rounded off with five points.
The Lady Wolverines are back on the floor Friday night with a 7:30 p.m. home contest against Genesee Valley/Belfast.
C.G. Finney 9 13 8 14 – 44
Bolivar-Richburg 6 12 5 7 – 30
FINNEY: Kiara Van Der Jagt 4 3-4 14, Eva Blazynski 4 0-2 9, Faith Pasquantonio 2 0-0 4, Kiley Knittle 3 0-0 8, Allie Frederickson 3 1-2 7, Katie Passero 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 4-8 44.
BOLIVAR-RICHBURG: Nadia Baldwin 3 0-0 7, Raegan Giardini 2 1-4 7, Carmen Crowley 2 1-2 5, Malayna Ayers 5 0-1 11, Caitlyn Steiner 0 0-2 0. Totals: 12 2-6 30.
3-point goals: Finney 6 (Van Der Jagt 3, Knittle 2, Blazynski), B-R 4 (Giardini 2, Baldwin, Ayers).
Total Fouls: Finney 12, B-R 7. Fouled out: None.
Keshequa 49, Houghton Academy 34
HOUGHTON — The Keshequa Indians found a way to escape Houghton Academy’s grasp after a narrow first half battle on Wednesday, as they posted a strong return to the court for the second half by holding the Panthers in check one final time to pull away towards a 49-34 road win.
Houghton Academy (3-14) was held to just a pair of shots from the field in the first eight minutes of play, as Keshequa took full advantage of the opportunity to strike first with an early 10-4 lead, with three different Indians contributing to the cause. The Panthers would chip away at their deficit across the second with some big help at the charity stripe and a trey for Josh Davidson and James Adenuga each, posting an 11-point frame to close up shop.
While the Panthers tried to gain momentum heading into the break, it was erased by Keshequa in the second half with a 15-6 run behind another balanced attack, one that would push their lead out far enough to remain in the driver’s seat until the end of the night to head back home victorious.
Davidson had another hot night from three-point range for Houghton Academy, sinking four of the team’s five to put towards a team-high 13 points. Jack Prentice chipped in with 11 points, while Adenuga and Pedro Rebello rounded off the scoring with eight and two points, respectively.
The Panthers are now off until Monday night with a 6 p.m. home battle against New Life Christian for the third and final time this season.
Keshequa 10 10 15 14 – 49
Houghton Academy 4 11 6 13 – 34
KESHEQUA: Nathan Thayer 4 0-0 9, Aiden Upright 4 0-0 9, Ian Hinrich 4 1-6 9, Jayden Buchinger 4 1-3 9, Bryan Flanagan 6 1-2 13. Totals: 22 3-11 49.
HOUGHTON ACADEMY: Jack Prentice 3 5-6 11, Josh Davidson 4 1-2 13, James Adenuga 3 1-4 8, Pedro Rebello 1 0-0 2. Totals: 11 7-12 34.
3-point goals: Keshequa 2 (Thayer, Upright), HA 5 (Davidson 4, Adenuga).
Total Fouls: Keshequa 9, HA 14. Fouled out: None.