By: Ed Weaver | NTL Sports | February 4, 2017
The Wellsboro Varsity Boys Basketball team rallied from a 14-point deficit early in the third quarter to defeat Athens 58-55 in overtime on Friday, February 3.
The Hornets had a hard time getting shots to fall in the first half, but managed to trail 11-10 after the opening quarter. Athens put some distance between them and Wellsboro by outscoring the Hornets 11-7. Ethan Lane scored 9 of the Wildcats points in the quarter to take a 22-17 lead into halftime.
Part of Wellsboro's problem early was turnovers. The Hornets turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter alone, and 5 more times in the second quarter. Combine that with going 0-for-8 behind the three-point line, where the Hornets are usually deadly, led to Wellsboro trailing at the half for only the second time this season.
Thing went from bad to worse for the Hornets are the third quarter started as Athens outscored Wellsboro 11-2 in the first three minutes to force a timeout. After the timeout, Wellsboro regrouped, and shots started falling. Junior Dalton Prough kept Wellsboro in the game with 7 points in the quarter, and senior Jacob Singer hit two big three-pointers to close out the quarter on an 11-2 run to trail 35-30 entering the fourth.
Athens pushed the score to 40-33 early in the fourth, but Wellsboro kept chipping away at the Wildcats' lead as junior Quinn Henry hit two huge three-point shots to pull the Hornets to within 2 points before Prough tied it at 43-43. Wellsboro would take the lead for a moment asHenry again made an off-balance circus shot in the paint, but Athens tied it at 46-46 on their next trip down the court.
Athens' Daniel Joyce gave the Wildcats a 49-46 lead with 26.3 seconds left, forcing the Hornets to shoot a three to tie the game back up. Singer's shot was off the mark, but Pietropola grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled with 11.9 seconds left. Pietropola made the first foul shot and missed the second, but junior Nic Ingerick grabbed the offensive rebound so Wellsboro could call their final timeout. After the timeout, Henry made another big shot with 3.6 seconds left to tie the game at 49-49. Athens' final attempt for the regulation win came up short and the game went to overtime.
Athens struck first blood in overtime with a point from the foul line to make it 50-49, but Henry converted both foul shots on the Hornets ensuing possession to make it 51-50. After Henry blocked a shot on Athens' Kalen Keathley, Pietropola again drew a foul and connected on 1-of-2 shots to put the Hornets up 52-50. Keathley would tie the game up on the Wildcats next trip down the court, but missed the foul shot. Pietropola would make another bucket to make the score 54-52, but after a missed Athens shot in the paint and Singer rebound, Wellsboro turned the ball over two times in two possessions. Athens would make 3-of-4 foul shots off those turnovers to retake the lead at 55-54, but then Wellsboro took over.
Henry assisted on a Pietropola bucket right under the basket to put the Hornets up one, then on defense he cleaned up an Athens missed shot and was fouled. Pietropola made his first foul shot and missed the second, but senior Alden Weiner grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. Weiner hit 1-of-2 foul shots and grabbed his own rebound after the second shot missed to seal the win for the Hornets.
Ethan Lane led all scorers with a game-high 25 points and Gavin Stein finished with 18 for the Wildcats.
Henry led Wellsboro with career-high 19 points, Prough had a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Pietropola and Singer each scored 9 points. Senior Brandon Lamphier and Ingerick scored 2 points each, and Weiner scored his only point on the game's final foul shot.
Lamphier and Henry added 6 rebounds and 4 assists each, Singer had 4 rebounds and a block, Ingerick and Weiner had 4 rebounds each, and Pietropola finished with 9 rebounds.
Athens won the JV game 35-30, dropping the Hornets to 15-3 on the year. Sophomore Brandyn Tuttle led the Hornets with 20 points.
The win improves the Varsity team's record to 17-3 (14-1 NTL). The team will be back on the road in Troy on Monday, February 6.