Hornets fall to Southern Columbia in District semis
By: Ed Weaver / March 1, 2017
An 18-6 third quarter by Southern Columbia doomed the Wellsboro Boys Basketball team in a 52-45 loss in the District IV Class AAA semi-finals at Williamsport Area High School on Tuesday, February 28.
Wellsboro committed numerous turnovers and multiple mental mistakes on the night.
"I don't know what to say. We ended up having 21 turnovers and we knew coming into the game that we couldn't turn the ball over that much," said head coach Todd Outman. "You're playing against good competition, where earlier in the year against that competition you can have mental mistakes and it won't cost you, but against teams like Southern Columbia it's going to cost you as was evident tonight."
Yet Wellsboro was still in it down to the final seconds.
The Hornets took an early 4-0 lead, but five turnovers led to 13 Tiger points. Wellsboro came back as juniors Dalton Prough and Collin Pietropola made the Tigers and their aggressive defense pay with nine combined points. Senior Alden Weiner added the remaining three for the Hornets, as they trailed 13-12 after the opening quarter.
An early three-pointer from senior Brandon Lamphier put the Hornets back in front to start the second, but the Tigers' Sydney Damgaard answered right back with a three of his own to retake the lead. Wellsboro would go back in front by way of the foul line after the Tigers picked up their seventh team foul in the first half.
The Hornets went a combined 7-for-9 in the quarter, including Prough shooting 5-for-7. However, more turnovers cost the Hornets more points, but the team rebounded and tied the game at 24-24 on a Pietropola offensive rebound and bucket as the half came to a close.
The third quarter of games this year has been the Hornets' Achilles heel, and Tuesday's game was no different. An early block by Southern's Julian Fleming on Pietropola set the tone for the Tigers, as they outscored Wellsboro 18-6. Fleming scored 8 of his points in the quarter alone, and Cam Young and Drew Michaels both added 5 points.
Wellsboro managed to get points from Prough, Weiner, and sophomore Brandyn Tuttle, but trailed 42-30 entering the fourth quarter.
"We told the kids to hang in there and that there was a lot of time left," Outman said following the third quarter. "The way we can shoot we felt like we could get back into it. We were in a similar situation earlier this year over at Athens where we end up winning in overtime."
The time, however, Wellsboro couldn't complete the comeback, despite outscoring Southern Columbia 15-10 in the final frame. The second half, like the first for Southern Columbia, was foul heavy, and the Hornets were on the receving end of the calls this time. However, the Hornets kept battling back as sophomore Andrew Brelo hit a corner three, Prough added 4 more points, and junior Quinn Henry and Lamphier both added layups.
After a three from senior Jacob Singer, the Hornets found themselves trailing by 48-45. Wellsboro got the ball back after a Tiger turnover, but settled for and missed a mid-range jumper, forcing the Hornets to foul. The Tigers made both foul shots to go up 50-45 with time still remaining. Henry attempted a three on the Hornets' next trip down the court with under 10 seconds left, but the shot came up short, and the Tigers' Drew Michaels was fouled on the rebound, sending him to the line. Michaels sunk the two final foul shots, giving the Tigers a berth in the Class AAA championship game.
"The kids never give up," Outman said of his team. "We gotta try and stay with the process we do, and you know we did get back in the game but towards the end when they had to be mentally tough and start thinking about things a little more we got foolish with the basketball and guys taking the ball out of bounds that shouldn't have and what have you. It was a good experience for them. Hopefully we'll be back in this type of situation and we'll learn from our mistakes."
Fleming finished with a double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds (8 offensive), Young had 16, and Michaels finished with 9.
Prough led the Hornets with 15 points and 7 rebounds, Pietropola scored 9, Weiner and Lamphier both scored 5, Singer, Brelo, and Tuttle all finished with 3, and Henry rounded out the scoring with 2. Lamphier made 4 assists, Henry had 2 assists, and Tuttle finished with 5 rebounds.
Wellsboro (21-5) will now take on #2 seed Loyalsock (20-6) in the consolation game, after the Lancers lost 50-47 to Hughesville, with a trip to the PIAA tournament on the line. The game will take place at a date, time, and location to be determined.
"It doesn't get any easier," remarked Outman. "Loyalsock has won numerous district titles and have been there a lot. We have to go back and prepare and hopefully we won't do the things we did tonight and maybe pull off a victory."