By: Ed Weaver / February 17, 2023 / Photo: David Alliger
The Wellsboro Boys Basketball team advanced to the NTL Showdown finals at Mansfield University on Saturday following a 75-43 victory over Sayre on Thursday, February 16.
Both teams got off to a slow start and turned the ball over early, but eventually the Hornets took the game's first lead as senior Cameron Brought's put back on missed shot two minutes in. Sayre tied the game on their next trip down the court but Wellsboro started to heat up and finished the quarter on a 13-6 run. The Redskins transitioned to a 2-3 zone on the defensive side of the ball, which gave the Hornets fits at times in the second. Sayre outscored Wellsboro10-8 in the quarter, but the Hornets still led 25-16.
Once the second half started, Wellsboro's offense came alive as they scored 50 points.
"We were living by the outside a little too much," head coach Steve Adams said. "Once we moved the ball in and got some touches inside the paint everything started opening up. We took the ball to the hoop better the second half. The boys responded very well to the adjustments we made. We scored 50 in the second half and it wasn't just one or two guys. We were really explosive and I thought we did a really nice job playing team basketball."
Senior Peyton McClure started the second half out with five quick points, junior Hayes Campbell added five points of his own and a three by senior Conner Adams pushed the lead up to 39-22 with under three minutes to play. A minute later a McClure three pushed the lead to 20, 42-22, forcing Sayre to call a timeout. Wellsboro ended the quarter, leading 46-24.
As Wellsboro continued to pull away the Redskins got into foul trouble. The Hornets shot a combined 31 foul shots in the final quarter, making 23 of them. Overall for the game Wellsboro made 27-of-38 shots from the foul line.
The Hornets closed out the game outscoring the Redskins 29-19 in the fourth.
Four Hornets scored in double figures on the night, led by McClure's 18. Brought finished with 15, Campbell added 14, and Adams contributed 13. Freshman Aaron Kirk added 5 points off the bench, juniors Caden Smith and Ian Hoose added 4 points each, and freshman Luke Rothermel rounded out the scoring with 2 points. Brought compiled his 14th double-double of the season, grabbing 10 rebounds and making 2 steals. Campbell finished with 9 boards and 3 assists, Adams made 6 assists and 4 steals, Hoose grabbed 3 rebounds, Smith had 5 assists and 3 rebounds, and McClure grabbed 4 boards, made 4 steals, and finished with 5 assists.
Junior Watson Feil also added a rebound and came away with a steal.
Jackson Hubbard led Sayre with 23 points.
"Most of his (Hubbard) points came in the fourth. Our guys played pretty good help defense and we limited them to one shot on probably 90% of their possessions," added Adams.
The Hornets (17-6) will face a familiar foe, rival North Penn-Mansfield, for the NTL Showdown championship on Saturday evening at Mansfield University. The Tigers defeated Canton 65-34 in the other boys semi-final game.
"It's good teams going at it again," Adams concluded. "I think it's a benefit for each team to play each other again, it will only sharpen us both for playoffs. We both have tough draws and it's anybody's game once you get there. I think Wellsboro and Mansfield have earned the right to play each other for the third time."