Tuesday Roundup: Highlighted by McDowell’s 100th career win, key lightweight victories, B-R grabs 1st win in narrow edging of Lions; Half-ending surge by Olean aids win over Wellsville boys
By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
WELLSVILLE — Bolivar-Richburg and Wellsville — two well-known local riva ls, have taken the wrestling mat by storm in recent seasons. Each time the two foes cross paths on the squared circle, the bleachers fill without an empty seat in the house and the price of admission is worth every penny.
In their lone meeting of the campaign on Tuesday, it was not any different whatsoever.
Right from the start, it settled in as a constant exchanging of pleasantries. The kind of constant where multiple deadlocks were reached early on, and the kind of constant where the metaphorical see-saw would elevate on one side or the other at a rapid pace. With all of the elements emulsified together, a loud and proud display of wrestling was dispatched.
With the Wolverines claiming a four-point lead going into the last two matches, the entire night hung in the balance. With one of the final matches being awarded to the Lions by forfeit, the middleweight bout at 145 pounds between Bolivar-Richburg’s Trey Buchholz and Wellsville’s Jack Cicirello was paramount.
A win for the hosts: an opportunity to remain undefeated entering the holiday break. But a win for the visitors: their first victory and a heavy boost of momentum going into the second half of the season, after the new year.
It was an early battle of wits and tough grappling between the two combatants. One that started quiet before the intensity began to ramp up after every passing second on the clock. With Cicirello well within reach of claiming the lead on the board, Buchholz acted quickly before the end of the second period and conducted a five-point swing to lay claim on a 7-1 lead that saw two more points in the last two minutes to seal the decision win.
That victory would cement Bolivar-Richburg’s overall victory in the match, extending it to eight — a number that was out of reach for the Lions when time ran out on an exciting, reigniting of the rivalric torch, as the Wolverines were declared triumphant for the first time this season behind a 38-36 edging of Wellsville to enter the holiday break ahead.
“It was a good win collectively for everybody. It’s the kind of win that brings everyone’s hopes back up again, having everyone back from injuries and everything else in between,” said Wolverines coach Andrew Taylor. “It’s nice to see everyone show up and wrestle again, but with this tonight, we have to go back to work and build on it, and be the team that we were last year. It starts with those little improvements, day by day.”
After the action began with a forfeit win for Matt Ritter at 160 pounds to give the Lions the first advantage, the next two matches on the mat would nearly take up all six minutes of time. That time crunch was nearly applied on the 170 pound bout between Tavyn MacDonell and Xander Outman, in a clash where MacDonell took control right from the start. With a decision in hand on the board, MacDonell continued to work hard and ultimately deliver a pinfall win with just nine seconds left to spare to tie the match for the Wolverines.
The lead was handed back to Wellsville in the following match however across another hard-fought battle between Gabe Black and Zach Mitchell for the visitors. Like the previous bout, another big swing of points aided victory for Black in the middle of the second period to create a lead he held onto before settling for a pinfall victory with 46 seconds left in the third period.
The Wolverines would fight right back to tie and take the lead again from Wellsville with wins in the next two matches on the docket, claiming victory with a forfeit from Cam Wilber at 215 pounds, and later, the team’s quickest pin of the night from Caden Allen at 285 pounds over Wellsville’s Brayden Taggert in 27 seconds.
Easton Joyce posted a forfeit win of his own at 101 pounds to help the Lions tie the match at 18, but in the next two matches, two big lightweight victories would come for the Wolverines to give them a 10-point lead, which was the largest lead held by either squad. The first was at 108 pounds for Presley McDowell, as he added to his early 2-0 first period lead across the next two periods to lay claim on a 12-2 major decision over Paul Giovanniello — the first Varsity win of McDowell’s career.
Following up was Teegan Sibble at 116 pounds, as she built a fast accumulation of points led by a series of takedowns and nearfalls to collect an 11-0 lead on Blake Geffers before recording a big pinfall with 1:16 left in the third period to branch the Wolverines lead to 28-18 at that point.
“Those were big,” Taylor said. “That was Presley’s first Varsity match, and he was really nervous coming in. But he stepped up and performed, and that’s all you can really ask of him. And Teegan, she’s always dominant and she wrestles a really composed match every time she steps out there. Both of them did great tonight.”
The Lions would roar back however with back-to-back wins of their own to cut the deficit down to four points, leading with Jensen Spicer and his 18-second pinfall victory at 124 pounds over Gabby Mitchell, and then after a series of roll-ups between both David Clark and Cayden Gaines at 131 pounds, Clark had the last of the bunch to pin Gaines towards the end of the opening period to claim the victory.
That propelled the Lions back into the driver’s seat with a 30-28 advantage.
Wellsville was quickly beginning to close in on Bolivar-Richburg down the stretch. With two matches in action left on the docket, the spotlight shone on both Gary McDowell and Trey Buchholz for the Wolverines to supply the team’s first win of the season, as McDowell fought hard and tough against Adam Iantorno at 138 pounds to claim a pinfall win with just five seconds left in the final period to branch the Wolverines lead back out to four entering the night’s last match.
The victory was also a big one in the career of McDowell’s — the 100th, to be exact. After he reached that historic marker, Taylor reflected on the hard work and dedication he put forth to accomplish that feat of greatness, adding that it was even more impressive that he had reached it as a sophomore.
“He’s been a Varsity starter for three years. Not a lot of people can say that they got their 100th win as a sophomore,” he said. “He’s done a great job for us, and he keeps working hard for us. This is only the beginning for him. He’s going to be doing some great things for us in the future ahead.”
In the final bout of the night, and with momentum hanging with the Wolverines entering it, it would remain there after Buchholz began the match with a 2-1 lead of Cicirello, adding to his lead with a massive five-point swing in the midst of a tough fight in the second period to advance forward and collect the ultimate 9-1 decision to finish off the night for Bolivar-Richburg on a high note.
With the win over their storied, longtime local rival now in their back pocket, Taylor hopes that it will serve as a big confidence boost for his group moving into the second half of the campaign after the holidays.
“I think it’s going to make the wrestling room a lot better for us,” he said. “This gives them something to get excited about, and we’ve just got to keep moving forward. Tyler’s (Carman) got a great program, he’s got a lot of tough kids that love to wrestle. He’s doing an excellent job over here getting his kids ready each time out.”
After the holiday break in which both teams will enter now, they will return to regular season action in a pair of 6 p.m. matches beginning on January 4, as the Wolverines go back home to welcome in Arkport-Canaseraga, while Wellsville hits the road for a visit to Addison.
Results (* indicates starting weight)
101 – Easton Joyce (WLSV) by for.
108 – Presley McDowell (B-R) def. Paul Giovaniello (WLSV) by major dec, 12-2.
116 – Teegan Sibble (B-R) def. Blake Geffers (WLSV) by pin, 4:44.
124 – Jensen Spicer (WLSV) def. Gabby Mitchell (B-R) by pin, :18.
131 – David Clark (WLSV) def. Cayden Gaines (B-R) by pin, 1:49.
138 – Gary McDowell (B-R) def. Adam Iantorno (WLSV) by pin, 5:55.
145 – Trey Buchholz (B-R) def. Jack Cicirello (WLSV) by dec, 9-1.
152 – Landon Stratton (WLSV) by for.
*160 – Matt Ritter (WLSV) by for.
170 – Tavyn MacDonell (B-R) def. Xander Outman (WLSV) by pin, 5:51.
190 – Gabe Black (WLSV) def. Zach Mitchell (B-R) by pin, 5:14.
215 – Cam Wilber (B-R) by for.
285 – Caden Allen (B-R) def. Brayden Taggert (WLSV) by pin, :27.
Olean 56, Wellsville 39
OLEAN — Olean and Wellsville are two teams that have come to know one another over the course of time, especially on the coveted basketball hardwood indoors. It dates back to that gigantic Class B Far West Regional battle at Buffalo State that pinned the then Raymie Auman-led Lions up against legendary Huskies mastermind Jeff Anastasia for a trip to the Final Four back in 2016.
The meetings between both iconic programs have been intermittent, but when they have come together, a great display of basketball has been showcased, with the final degree of separation in three of their last four meetings being decided by 10 points or less.
On Tuesday, that clash was resurrected yet again in Olean.
The Lions and Huskies battled neck-and-neck across a first quarter that saw the hosts break free with a late run, but slowly saw it chipped away by their opposition to climb back to within reach when the frame reached its conclusion. But in the next frame of play, a different story that the Huskies authored.
Defending their side of the court.
With a pen in hand, the Huskies wrote a new page to add into their four-quarter manuscript against the Lions. With a 16-14 lead in hand approaching halfway in the second quarter, they took matters into their own hands on the defensive by forcing multiple turnovers against the visitors in black and orange, cashing in on every chance they could to close the half with a big run that projected towards a lead they never looked back on in a 56-39 victory.
“This was a tough one. JJ (Howard) picked up a second foul in the second quarter when it was a close game, and then it fell apart without him,” Lions coach Tom Muska said. “He relieved so much pressure offensively and provided so much stability on defense. It’s tough to play a minute without him out there. Olean was able to turn up the intensity on us because of it. We’re inching towards getting better each day, and hopefully when we come back home for our game on Thursday, it will be as good of a night as any for us to get back to shooting well.”
The early-going between both the Lions (0-5) and Huskies saw a back-and-forth exchange of baskets before the hosts in white and red were able to create a first quarter opening that witnessed them record the next six points in a row, helping construct a seven-point, 13-6 lead going into the next frame.
In the second quarter, it gave the Huskies an opportunity to buckle down on defense and break away from Wellsville, as they fortified their defense and finished the half with eight of the last 10 points all behind forcing turnovers against the Lions, grabbing a 29-18 lead going into the break.
The advantage for Olean was never lost across the entire second half, as they used another boisterous run of the Lions — a jaunt that consisted of nine of the first 11 points go in their direction across the first 4:30 of play to branch their advantage to 18 and excel towards a 17-point third quarter that allowed them to pull away and out of reach.
Leading the scoring for Wellsville was Ty Vogel, who posted a game-high 16 points. JJ Howard followed right behind him with 15 points of his own, while Aiden Cowburn and Alex Green rounded off the scoring with four points each.
The Lions will return home for their final contest of the 2023 calendar year, as they play host to Eugenio Maria de Hostos on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Wellsville 10 8 10 11 – 39
Olean 16 13 17 10 – 56
WELLSVILLE: Aiden Cowburn 2 0-0 4, JJ Howard 6 3-4 15, Ty Vogel 8 0-2 16, Ethan Bailey 0 0-2 0, Alex Green 2 0-2 4. Totals: 18 3-10 39.
OLEAN: Keegan Evans 1 0-0 3, Caedyn Tingley 2 1-2 6, Sullivan Hoffman 1 0-0 2, Dwayne Motley 4 1-2 9, Luca Quinn 3 2-2 8, Joe Mest 4 0-0 10, Isaiah Smith 6 0-0 14, Mykel Rivera 2 0-0 4. Totals: 23 4-6 56.
3-point goals: Olean 6 (Mest 2, Smith 2, Evans, Tingley).
Total Fouls: Wellsville 7, Olean 14. Fouled out: None.
Andover/Whitesville 35, Bolivar-Richburg 26
WHITESVILLE — With a tight battle being held steady across the board, only one team would exit Tuesday night with a burst of momentum to use going forward as the holiday break began to peak over the horizon.
For Andover/Whitesville, they ensured that it would be them at the end of the night, as they used a strong start to their game in the first quarter to build an advantage they maintained against visiting Bolivar-Richburg all throughout, catapulting towards what was a 35-26 home victory over the hill in Whitesville.
The Andover/Whitesville (2-5) ladies were able to come away with a strong first punch in the opening eight minute frame, as four different scorers all recorded at least a bucket to ignite a 9-3 run of Bolivar-Richburg — the three points off of the only shot from the field by the Lady Wolverines, from outside off the hand of Raegan Giardini.
The lead was trimmed down to five by the end of the half for the Lady Wolverines (2-5), as Nadia Baldwin used a key three-pointer along with three more points from Giardini to aid in a strong finish to the session.
But in the second half, another nine-point frame from Andover/Whitesville saw them take liftoff one more time to help close out the battle with an 11-point lead going into a fourth quarter where the hosts in white were able to keep their advantage intact for the victory.
Leading the scoring for Andover/Whitesville was Graci Lewis-Ellison, who recorded a team-leading nine points. Makaila Brewster and Olivia Waters each followed with eight points.
For the Lady Wolverines, Giardini finished as the top scorer with her 12 game-high points. Carmen Crowley and Nadia Baldwin both finished with six points. Bolivar-Richburg is now off until after the new year, as they hit the road for the first time in 2024 with a stop to Cuba-Rushford on January 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Andover/Whitesville will zoom over the hill and back into Andover for their final battle on the 2023 calendar, as they welcome in the Avoca-Prattsburgh Lady Titans for a visit, Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
Bolivar-Richburg 3 8 5 10 – 26
Andover/Whitesville 9 7 9 10 – 35
BOLIVAR-RICHBURG: Nadia Baldwin 2 0-0 6, Jaelyn Kinnicutt 1 0-0 2, Raegan Giardini 5 1-1 12, Carmen Crowley 2 2-6 6. Totals: 10 3-7 26.
ANDOVER/WHITESVILLE: Stella Bledsoe 1 1-2 3, Graci Lewis-Ellison 4 0-2 9, Grace Fry 3 0-2 7, Makaila Brewster 3 2-5 8, Olivia Waters 4 0-3 8. Totals: 15 3-14 35.
3-point goals: B-R 3 (Baldwin 2, Giardini), A/W 2 (Lewis-Ellison, Fry).
Total Fouls: B-R 10, A/W 13. Fouled out: Baldwin (B-R).