Hornets sting Tigers on the road
By: Ed Weaver / February 2, 2017
It was another game for the ages between the Wellsboro Hornets and the North Penn-Mansfield Tigers on Wednesday, February 1.
After the Tigers handed the Hornets their first league loss on January 5 in Wellsboro, the Hornets returned the favor on the Tigers' home court in a 57-49 win.
Both teams battled back and forth in the first quarter, but eventually the Hornets heated up midway through the quarter and put some distance between themselves and the rival Tigers. Turnovers and two big three-pointers from juniors Quinn Henry and Collin Pietropola, along with tough layups from Pietropola, sophomore Brandyn Tuttle, junior Dalton Prough, and senior Brandon Lamphier put the Hornets ahead 18-12 before Pietropola finished with a layup before time ran out to make the score 20-12 in favor of Wellsboro.
North Penn-Mansfield flipped the script in the second quarter and erased the Hornets' 8-point lead. The Tigers' defense held Wellsboro scoreless for over six minutes of the quarter and caused three turnovers. The Tigers' Brock Burleigh scored 4 of his 10 first half points in the quarter, Nick Kasper hit a big three-pointer, and Joel Whitteker and Shane Kelly added tough baskets to go up 23-20 over Wellsboro. The Hornets weathered the storm and finally found the scoreboard as Prough hit two buckets, including one to end the half and put Wellsboro back on top, 24-23.
Unlike their last meeting, the Hornets hit their stride in the second half, and eventually won the game in the third quarter.
"The guys just had to find a way to win the game and they did," said Wellsboro head coach Todd Outman. "We got up pretty good then Mansfield made a nice comeback on us, then towards the end of the game we didn't make our free throws. Typically we struggle at times but not that bad but Dalton Prough did a great job on the free throw line grabbing the rebound, which was huge for us. If they have those three or four possessions it could be a different outcome, but the guys did a great job."
Both teams traded the lead to start the third quarter and eventually Burleigh put the Tigers on top as he scored his 1,000th career point, but the Hornets would reclaim the lead as Lamphier made two huge plays. First, he drove through the paint and dished a pass off to Pietropola for an easy layup, then he took the ball to the rim himself for a basket on the Hornets next possession.
As the quarter went on the Hornet defense only allowed three more shots from the Tigers en route to a 16-9 run. Shots from senior Jacob Singer, junior Nic Ingerick, and Pietropola and a huge three-pointer from senior Alden Weiner turned a one point halftime lead to and eight point 40-32 lead as the fourth quarter started.
"We went to a diamond-and-1 where we played a man on Burleigh and the other four guys were in a zone," Outman said of his second half adjustments. "I thought they had a little bit of difficulty with that. That's where we made our run and we just stuck with it and the guys executed the offensive stuff that we wanted to well, and we were fortunate enough to come away with a victory."
Wellsboro shut down Burleigh in the fourth, holding him to just two points, something they failed to do in their last meeting. Kelly managed to keep the Tigers in the game as he hit shot, after shot, after shot from just inside the three-point line, but Henry also had an outstanding quarter, scoring 11 points down the stretch.
A big shot from Kasper kept the Tigers in striking distance on a long three and Konnor Manikowski eventually closed the score to 3 points with under a minute remaining. As the Tigers were forced to foul to extend the game, the Hornets made foul shots, despite going 9-for-24 (38%) on the night, to stay ahead, with Singer making the final two to seal the victory.
Henry led all scorers with 16 points, Pietropola had 13 (9 in the first quarter), and Prough finished with 10. Lamphier added 6 points, Singer scored 4, Ingerick and Weiner had 3 points each, and Tuttle rounded out the scoring with 2. Lamphier led the Hornets with 6 rebounds and 6 assists, Weiner and Prough had 5 rebounds each, Henry made 3 assists, Prough made 2 steals.
Burleigh led the Tigers with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists; Kelly recorded another double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds and blocked 4 shots; Whitteker had 8 points; Manikowski scored 7; Kasper had 6, and Jayden Andrews rounded out the scoring with 3.
The win improves the Hornets' record to 16-3, and pushes the win streak to 8 games, while the Tigers fall to 16-4 and snap a 10-game win streak. Both teams are now tied atop the NTL Large School Division standings at 13-1, but the Hornets have a slight edge in overall season record for the top spot as the NTL Showdown approaches next weekend.
Both teams are in action on Friday, February 3 with the Tigers hosting Towanda and the Hornets traveling to Athens.