By: Ed Weaver / February 2, 2024 / Photo: Lance Larcom/ntwsportsreport.com
Wellsboro won a 56-52 overtime thriller against rival North Penn-Mansfield on Thursday, February 1, sweeping the season series.
In true rivalry fashion, and last night's game did not disappoint, the game went all the way down to the wire, and then some.
Wellsboro ended the first quarter with a 10-7 lead, a lead which they would carry through the first three quarters. Both teams scored 10 points apiece in the second and 14 in the third, giving the Hornets a 34-31 advantage heading into the final frame.
Mansfield scored just over a minute into the fourth to make it a one-point game but senior Hayes Campbell hit a tough turn-around jumper on the Hornets' next possession to push the lead back to three. However, Mansfield tied it up at 36-all the next trip down the court on a Tayton Strange three-pointer with 6:22 remaining. That shot sparked a 7-2 run by the Tigers, putting them up 42-40 with under two and a half minutes to play. Still trailing by two with just over a minute remaining, the Hornets began fouling to slow the clock. Mansfield went 2-2 at the foul line, pushing their lead to 44-40 before sophomore Marek Mascho put up a runner in the paint to cut the lead back to two.
Mansfield was fouled their next two trips down the court but hit 2-of-4 foul shots. After the last attempts, a senior Caden Smith layup tied the game back up at 46-all with 16 seconds left. Mansfield drew another foul on the Hornets and scored on the inbound by Cade Kurzejewski, putting the Tigers back up 48-46 with 7.2 seconds to go. With the clock running, Smith pushed the ball up the court and drew a foul with no time remaining. Following a timeout he made both shots, sending the game into bonus time.
The Hornets held North Penn-Mansfield to a pair of field goals in the overtime period while Smith and Campbell combined for 6 of Wellsboro's 8 points with sophomore Aaron Kirk adding two more foul shots.
Three Hornets scored in double figures on the night, led by Campbell and Smith with 15 points each. Kirk added 13 points, Mascho finished with 6, senior Ian Hoose added 5, and junior Mitchel Lechler rounded out the scoring with two points. Smith added 6 assists and 6 rebounds, Campbell grabbed 8 boards, Mascho made 3 assists and a steal, and Kirk added 5 rebounds. Hoose also grabbed 3 boards and made 2 assists.
Karson Dominick led all scorers with 29 points.
"That was huge team win tonight," head coach Ron Doughtie said. "Everyone contributed and we needed everything we got. The senior leadership at the end of the game, by all three of those guys was huge and those two free throws by Caden with no time left to tie it were the definition of clutch. I felt the two sophomores really played well on both ends of the court. Aaron’s shots from three helped carry us through some rough spots and his foul shots at the end of OT were big for a young player at such a pivotal moment."
Wellsboro swept the evening, winning the JV game 40-23 for their 14th win of the season. Freshman Colin Fletcher scored 9 points to lead the Hornets while sophomore Jonathan Carl and freshman Ethan Keane added 8 points each.
The win improves the Hornets to 12-5 overall and 10-4 in the NTL Large School Division. The Hornets also currently hold the #2 seed in the NTL Showdown before they square off against division-leading, and undefeated Troy, on Tuesday.