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Wellsville shocks #2 Canisteo-Greenwood behind Vogel’s career 27-point night, Lions advance in Section V tourney


Vogel’s career night, 4th quarter magic show sets up No. 7 Lions in Quarterfinal dispatch of No. 2 Canisteo-Greenwood, Wellsville to face No. 3 Marcus Whitman in B2 Semifinals on Monday

Photos and story by CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor,

CANISTEO — The glass slipper. In March Madness lore, the fabled high heel adorned by Cinderella served as an identifying marker of those underdog teams who raise the eyebrows of every college basketball fan in the nation by making that improbable run through the tournament until their clock struck midnight on the dot.

The 2005-06 George Mason Patriots, and then two years later, the-Steph Curry led Davidson Wildcats back in 2007-08 are just a couple of those teams to put on the slipper.

Although this particular story doesn’t fit the Wellsville Lions, winners of three Section V titles in the last six years, the defending Class B2 Champions were pinned up against the wall, facing a wide variety of trials and tribulations their regular season entailed. As a result, they entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed in their bracket, looking to author a fairy tale of their own to make it back to that royal ball located within the confines of Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester, next weekend.

After a 78-point performance against North Rose-Wolcott was registered as one of, if not, their most complete performance of the season earlier this week, the Lions were looking to shift all of that momentum into the weekend by taking their talents over the road for the remainder of their campaign. Their next pit stop: second-seeded Canisteo-Greenwood, visiting a red hot Chargers team who have rattled off 18 straight wins since their season-opening loss to Hornell back in late November.

To say that the Chargers would be a tough customer to go up against, would be an understatement.

Friday night in the Canisteo Valley, the lot was full outdoors. Inside, there were little to no empty seats to be had in the big house. It was safe to say that it was most certainly the place to be, if you want to experience the Sectional-like atmosphere in its entirety.

Wellsville and Canisteo-Greenwood put on display almost everything imaginable, from the high octane gameplay, which saw more of an emotional ascension as time progressed, to the student sections giving it all for their team from the grandstands. Everything hung in the balance, with the Finals rapidly approaching, as both teams looked to make that extra step.

But there was one particular detail that stood out from all the rest though: Ty Vogel was unstoppable.

The Wellsville junior assembled the performance of his career, and it was one that he won’t forget anytime soon. Entering the night, his season-high in scoring was 22 points. Vogel would nearly eclipse that in the entire first half alone, as he amassed 20 of the team’s 31 points leading up to halftime after a brilliant start to his game.

He would advance forward and finish with a career-high 27 points to tag along with a fourth quarter magic show that shifted all the momentum in their favor to end Canisteo-Greenwood’s magnificent season and continue theirs into the Class B2 Semifinals with a 56-40 victory.

NY Land Quest congratulates all student athletes

“When I was thinking about this team, JJ Reese and Carson Chaffee are two of the biggest problems that we had to solve, because you simply cannot teach athleticism,” said Lions coach Tom Muska. “Luckily, we have kids like JJ Howard, Trenton Green and Tyler on the other side. Tyler showed why he can be the best kid in B2 if he really wanted to. He has everything you could want out of a basketball player, and to see him make all the shots that he did tonight, that was really awesome to see.”

Vogel’s reign of terror stormed straight out of the gate for the Lions (9-13) in the first eight minutes of play, where after a couple of quick exchanges were to be had between both squads, the jolt of electricity entered the fray when he was responsible for all eight of the team’s points to go with a Cooper Brockway three-pointer soon after to assemble an 11-2 run of Canisteo-Greenwood just over five minutes gone off the clock.

When it was all said and done, Vogel would net 12 of the team’s 19 points in the frame to aid in claiming a 19-9 lead on the Chargers.

The Chargers would fire right back however, as they tilted the balance in their direction at the start of the second quarter with a quick run of their own, using a fortuitous ricochet off the hand of Cole Chaffee off a pass out to the top of the key found its way into the basket, along with a long JJ Reese triple to back an early 7-2 run to get to within five of Wellsville.

(Photos and video of Wellsville first-round win HERE)

Canisteo-Greenwood continued to chip away, but the Lions were able to find their rhythm once again to close out the first half in double-digit territory, as Vogel took charge of the offense once more by finishing the first 16-minute elongation with 20 of the 31 points that were displayed on the scoreboard.

All that first half success was paid in part by slowing down a fast and furious Canisteo-Greenwood offense, according to the second-year coach.

“Everything the past two days, we have focused on slowing down their transition offense,” Muska said. “About 80 percent of their points are scored off that, and they are really good at that. It was just a matter of stopping those athletes that Canisteo-Greenwood possesses. Our guards helped slow them down. That’s when we got that early lead, and we were able to build on it with some long offensive possessions.”

A fairly even timeshare of scoring was shelled out between the Lions and Chargers at the start of the third quarter, with the first of two second half jams from JJ Howard seeing a rapid response from Thomas Sirianni and his fadeaway jumper in the paint. The back-and-forth reciprocity of baskets allowed the visitors in black and orange to keep maintaining their 10-point lead of the Chargers across the third quarter — the frame ending on a big Vogel steal off Carson Chaffee under the rim, cashing the score in on the full gallop back down the court with less than 10 seconds remaining.

Then the last eight minutes approached, and what a culminating eight minute stanza it was for Wellsville.

Looking to put the finishing touches on a game that they assumed control of since the start, the Lions wielded some top-notch wizardry on the offensive end. Approaching five minutes remaining, JJ Howard helped take over with his first of two spectacular plays under his own conduction, capitalizing on a turnover deep in the defensive zone, which morphed into a pass straight in his direction down low for the one-handed pirouetting finish.

A short time later, Howard fired right back after a brief timeout on the floor off an inbound pass straight in front of the Canisteo-Greenwood bench. After a fine pass from Karson Grover from that point, Howard made a run up the court and received the football-esque pass from Grover. With one Charger to beat on his way in, he went straight in for his second one-handed jam of the night to branch Wellsville’s lead even further.

The dunk, allowing the Lions to turn the tide completely in their favor.

“The basketball gods were shining down on us,” Muska said. “If you do the right things, you make the right passes, you box out, the ball usually falls your way and it goes in. Tonight, everything fell into place. On JJ’s dunk off the inbound, we were originally supposed to him as a decoy. He went long like you would in football, but you could tell that he wanted it. Karson made the beautiful pass to him, and that doesn’t happen without that pass. After he made that, they stretched Canisteo-Greenwood out on the floor and they couldn’t press us the same anymore. It just opened everything up.”

With nearly two minutes left, a maylay ensued deep in the Canisteo-Greenwood zone for a loose ball that was forced out by a trio of Chargers. With the Lions quickly recovering to try and keep the possession alive, all while under immense duress from the Chargers, the ball somehow skittered to the grasp of Vogel who, with minimal time left on the shot clock, let a buzzer-beating shot sink straight through the twine from downtown to essentially put away the game for good by providing an extension to a lead that reached 18 points.

Finishing behind Vogel for the Lions was Howard, who concluded with 12 points. Aiden Cowburn and Cooper Brockway each had six points to add into the mix.

For Canisteo-Greenwood, Thomas Sirianni led all scorers with his team-high 15 points. Carson Chaffee tallied 11 points, while JJ Reese finished with eight.

The Chargers will close the book on what was a tremendous 2023-24 campaign on the hardwood, as they finish up with a record of 18-2 overall. The team will say goodbye to five of their seniors when the school year reaches its conclusion at the end of June, in Reese, Sage Klees, Cole Chaffee, Griffin Weeks and Lucas Mason.

As for the Lions, the win now puts them firmly into the Class B2 Semifinal round, where they are now one step away from returning to Section V’s grandest stage in downtown Rochester. They will return to action on Monday at Bath-Haverling, where they will now square off with the No. 3 seeded Marcus Whitman Wildcats, who defeated No. 6 RACS by a 78-71 count, for a spot in the Finals coming up next Friday night.

Tip-off between the Lions and Wildcats is set for a 6 p.m. start.

“They’re an amazing program. They were my first vote to get top honors from Section V. I watched their first game and I wondered how do I get kids to play like this?” said Muska. “They have a big man that will affect every game with his athleticism, and two guards that can knock down the big shots as well as anyone else in Class B. If we can keep track of all those things, we might have a game on our hands.”

Wellsville 19 12 11 14 – 56

Canisteo-Greenwood 9 10 13 8 – 40

WELLSVILLE: Aiden Cowburn 2 2-3 6, Karson Grover 1 1-3 3, Cooper Brockway 2 0-0 6, JJ Howard 4 4-11 12, Ty Vogel 12 0-2 27, Trenton Green 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 8-19 56.

CANISTEO-GREENWOOD: Kevin Sirianni 1 0-0 2, Thomas Sirianni 6 1-2 15, Carson Chaffee 5 0-0 11, JJ Reese 3 0-0 8, Sage Klees 1 0-0 2, Cole Chaffee 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 1-2 40.

3-point goals: Wellsville 5 (Vogel 3, Brockway 2), C-G 5 (T. Sirianni 2, Reese 2, Ca. Chaffee).
Total Fouls: Wellsville 9, C-G 18. Fouled out: None.

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