CLEVELAND - While it may have been played in Cleveland, there was no lacking for emotion as the Beaver Local Beavers and the Wellsville Tigers squared off Monday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena. After a sluggish start, the Tigers got their running game going on the way to a 72-57 win.
The triumph ups Wellsville's record to 7-0, while the Beavers are 4-4.
Nate Scott paced the Tiger attack with 24 points. Seth Bradford tossed in 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Jordan Sloan tallied 11 and dished out six assists. Cam Douglas hooped eight points and handed out 12 assists. Brendon Carr came off the bench to score six points and pull down six rebounds. Sloan, Scott and Douglas each grabbed five rebounds.
Jared Lyder topped the Beavers with 23 points and took game honors with nine rebounds. He also passed out four assists. Chase Hilliard netted 13 points, followed by Chandler Cornell with six and Hayden Grafton five.
Wellsville outrebounded Beaver Local 34-24 and their pressure defense forced Beaver Local into 20 turnovers.
Unanswered runs were the difference in the game. An 11-0 over the final minute of the first quarter and the first two minutes of the second, enabled the Tigers to take 17-14 lead that they never relinquished. A Lyder hoop ended that run, but then Wellsville went on a 13-2 juggernaut with five different players finding the hoop.
"Once we finally speeded up the tempo, it made a huge difference," said Wellsville head coach Dave "Bug" Thompson. "If we're not running, we're not playing well."
A Bradford basket off a Sloan feed, followed by a Sloan driving hoop and three charity tosses by Bradford, enabled the Tigers to take a 32-20 halftime lead.
"As we tell our guys, basketball is a game of runs, and it's important how you react," said Beaver Local head coach Jeremy Christen. "We were unable to counter their runs and that was the difference."
Two Lyder baskets and two foul shots by Hilliard trimmed the Wellsville lead to 36-26 wtih 5:18 remaining in the third quarter. At this juncture, the Tigers fastbreak kicked into overdrive as they dazzled the large contingent of local fans with crisp passing on the break. Bradford and Scott were each twice on the receiving end of touch passes from Douglas. The 11-0 run ended with Wellsville leading 47-26 with 3:22 showing on the third quarter clock.
"When our guys finally got their heads up and and starting looking up the floor, our break really started to be successful," Thompson said. "We were sluggish in the first half. It may have been due to the short the warmup time (seven minutes), the big floor, or whatever. Once we got loosened up, we played much better."
A 12-2 Tiger run at the beginning of the fourth quarter left the Beavers trailing 65-40. Beaver Local mounted a 12-0 run of their own late in the game, before both teams cleared their benches, allowing their younger players to get the chance to play on an NBA floor.
"I want to express my appreciation to our athletic director Eric Lowe, Wellsville's athletic director Don Elliott and Brenda Thompson for all of their hard work in putting this together for both teams," said Christen. "This has been a great experience for us."
The Beavers host Crestview Friday. The Tigers don't play again until Saturday, January 4, when they host East Liverpool.
Wellsville sold approximately 425 tickets and Beaver Local 235.
Beaver Local's Josh Underwood played with a face shield to protect the laceration and stitches that he received in the East Liverpool game Friday night.
This was Wellsville's third game in four days.
BEAVER LOCAL: 14-6-16-21-57
BEAVER LOCAL SCORING: Chase Hilliard 5-2-13, Jared Lyder 9-5-23, Hayden Grafton 2-0-5, Ethan Campbell 1-0-3, Chase Wilcox 0-0-0, Chandler Cornell 3-0-6, Josh Underwood 0-0-0, Kevin Mackey 0-0-0, Tyler Kithas, Christian Cooper 0-0-0, Conner Hall 1-0-3, Josh Beck 0-0-0, Bryce McKenzie 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 21, 7-7: 57.
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Camden Douglas 2-3-8, Tyeshaun Franklin 0-0-0, Nate Scott 9-5-24, Antonio Fultz 2-0-4, Seth Bradford 5-4-14, Brendon Carr 3-0-6, Jordan Sloan 4-2-11, Jansen Stoakes 0-0-0, Nigel Spann 0-0-0, Sam McIntosh 0-0-0, Branzen Grodhaus 0-2-2, Justin Miller 1-0-3, Jake Green 0-0-0, Hayden Dalrymple 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 26, 16-28: 72.
Three-point goals: Beaver Local 4 (Hilliard, Grafton, Campbell, Hall), Wellsville 4 (Douglas, Scott, Sloan, Miller).