By: Ed Weaver | NTL Sports | February 8, 2019 | Photo courtesy Dr. Robert Bair
The Wellsboro Varsity Boys Basketball survived a 22-point fourth quarter by St. John Neumann to hold on for a 52-50 win on Thursday, February 7.
The Hornets came out firing on all cylinders early as they built a 10-0 lead but it was quickly erased by Neumann, as they closed the opening quarter out on a 9-2 run. Leading 12-9 heading into the second Wellsboro then outscored Neumann 21-8 to build up a 16-point, 33-17, lead at halftime.
"Those early runs were very important," head coach Todd Outman said. "The way the game ended up they were huge. We built a really good lead and then just fell apart. Neumann never gave up and kept fighting hard and we kept being dumb with the basketball and not executing. Hats off to them for making it the way it ended up."
Once the third quarter started the Hornets ran into their old foe, turnovers. Wellsboro only turned the ball over 6 times in the first half, then turned the ball over 8 times in the third quarter alone. Those turnovers, combined with some great defense that held Wellsboro to just 2 total points midway through the quarter, sparked a Neumann run to get back to within fighting distance. Neumann won the quarter 11-10, but closed the gap to 43-28 after three.
The fourth quarter though is when St. John Neumann exploded. The Golden Knights caught fire offensively and started cutting into Wellsboro's lead. The Hornets struggled from the field as they hit one field goal, but managed to stay in front from the foul line. Eventually Neumann cut the lead to 2 points late but two key foul shots from senior Brandyn Tuttle put Wellsboro back up 4 points late.
Neumann managed to cut the lead to 2 points after they missed a three-point attempt, but the final buzzer sounded as the bucket went in preserving the Hornet win.
"These guys never quit playing," continued Outman. "They might execute well but they'll never stop playing hard. We didn't end up having a good second half, some stuff we did, other stuff Neumann made us do, we're just fortunate enough we had the first half that we did or we'd be in a different situation tonight."
Tuttle led all scorers with a game-high 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to collect 33rd career double-double. Sophomore Joseph Grab scored 15 points, including 4 three-pointers, and added 3 assists and 3 steals. Senior Holden Kennedy added 7 points and senior Tanner Button and Hunter Brown scored 2 points each, with Button adding 7 assists. Brown added 6 rebounds and Kennedy added 3 rebounds.
In the JV game St. John Neumann won 34-26 to drop the Hornets to 8-10 on the season. Junior Ty Morral led the team with 10 points.
The win improves the Hornets' 18-2 overall. Wellsboro will be back in action on Monday, February 11 on the road in Towanda then host Troy on Tuesday for their final regular season game.