By: Ed Weaver / December 28, 2017
The Wellsboro Varsity Boys Basketball escaped Williamsport and hung on to beat St. John Neumann 50-41 on Wednesday, December 27.
The win was the Hornets sixth in a row, was Neumann's second straight loss, and the Knights' lowest point total of the season. It was also head coach Todd Outman's first career win over SJN.
The last time the Hornets best Neumann was 1995 under Steve Adams. Prior to that, Wellsboro had not beaten Neumann since 1983.
"It helps when we have the four starting seniors," Outman said. "We shot poorly again, missed layups again but we made free throws in the end when it mattered. We rebounded better when it mattered. It was a good victory for us to come down here and finally beat them."
Wellsboro's early hot shooting from behind the three-point line pushed the Hornets out to an early 15-8 lead over Neumann after the opening quarter, but Neumann, led by 9 points from Jaiden Lynch, crept back into the game to make it 31-24 in favor of Wellsboro at the half.
The Hornets struggled coming out of halftime and Neumann quickly capitalized, getting the Hornets into early foul trouble. With some starters forced to sit, Neumann cut the lead five, 38-33 heading into the fourth quarter. The Knights continued to force Wellsboro into taking bad shots in the fourth and draw fouls. The Hornets, however, still managed to play solid defense, mainly holding Lynch to just two second-half points.
Neumann whittled the Hornets' lead down to three, 44-41 with under two minutes to go.
"We lost a little of our composure when they were trapping us and things like that," Outman said. "We put ourselves in some bad spots near the sideline and half court which caused some problems."
With Neumann turning up their pressure on Wellsboro in the hopes of causing turnovers, the Hornets were able to maintain the ball, draw fouls, and head to the line. The Hornets' final 6 points of the game all came at the foul line. Junior Brandyn Tuttle went 4-for-4 and senior Quinn Henry went 2-for-2 to ice the game.
"The was huge because we missed some early on," said Outman of his team's foul shooting.
Wellsboro finished 16-of-20 (.800) from the foul line as a team.
Tuttle finished with 15 points (7-of-8 from the foul line) and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Henry finished with 13, senior Nic Ingerick scored 7, junior Andrew Brelo hit two three-pointers' for 6 points, senior Dalton Prough scored 5, and senior Collin Pietropola rounded out the Hornets' scoring with 4 points.
Pietropola grabbed 9 rebounds and Henry collected 8 to go with his 4 assists. Prough also added 5 assists, 3 steals and a blocked shot on the evening.
The win improves the Hornets' record to 7-1 (4-0 NTL Large School Division). The team will be back in action on Tuesday, January 2 on the road in Troy.