WELLSVILLE-Northeast Ohio may be encased in a winter chill, but the Wellsville Tigers came out red-hot Friday against Mineral Ridge.
With the contest showcased as MyYTV's "Game of the Week", the Tigers lit it up from three-point range in the first quarter to build a commanding lead and never looked back, routing the Rams, 71-50.
Point guard Camden Douglas led the way on both offense and defense, totaling 20 points, seven rebounds and eight assists as the Tigers improved to 13-1 overall and stayed perfect in the Inter-Tri County League lower tier at 9-0.
"Tonight was a really good experience," Douglas said. "We were excited to be on TV and came out ready to go. We have a lot of shooters and everybody showed up tonight."
Wellsville overwhelmed Mineral Ridge from the opening tip. Douglas brought the crowd to its feet just moments into the game when he came up with a steal and raced coast-to-coast, finishing with a two-handed dunk.
He kept busy the rest of the period dishing passes to his open teammates. Guard Nate Scott and Forward Seth Bradford each nailed two three-pointers as the Tigers established a 23-7 lead.
Scott finished with 22 points and five rebounds, while Bradford had 16 points and nine rebounds.
"We have a lot of different guys who can score and my job is to get everybody involved," Douglas said. "It's a lot of fun when everybody starts knocking down shots."
For Mineral Ridge, it was more of the same against Wellsville this season. In their first meeting back in December, the Tigers blitzed the Rams with 11 three-pointers on their way to a comfortable win.
"We wanted to get out and run just like last time," Wellsville coach David Thompson said. "The first time we played, they (Mineral Ridge) got tired early and tonight it was the same thing. I thought they were tired in the first quarter."
Forward Brandon Perkins led the Rams (7-6, 4-5 ITCL) with 12 points.
"Wellsville was just on fire early," Mineral Ridge coach Chris Kohl said. "After the first game we worked on a little zone defense to challenge the shooters. We tried to impress to our guys that you can't leave them open but we didn't do a good job. It's tough when you're in that kind of hole right away."
The Tigers cooled off in the second quarter but were able to grow the lead thanks to their smothering defense. Douglas used his 6-foot-3 length to wreck havoc with the Mineral Ridge offense, finishing with four steals and several deflections. It took the Rams over five minutes in each the first and second quarters to get their first field goal.
"For a point guard, (Douglas') long arms really help," Thompson said. "He is capable of watching both the point guard and the center."
"We knew Mineral Ridge had some scorers so we had to come out right away and lock them down," Douglas said.
The Rams staged a mini-rally in the third quarter, pulling within 33-21 early in the frame, but from there the Tigers used a 16-2 run to bust the game wide open. Bradford shifted his role from facilitator to scorer during the stretch, making another dunk, a three and a layup to help the Tigers pull away. Scott also helped with another three and several trips to the foul line.
"We got away from running our offense for a little while," Thompson said. "But I thought we could put them away if we got straightened out. It was just a matter of time."
Wellsville remains one game ahead of Lowellville on the league standings. The Tigers and Rockets still have both meetings ahead of them.
"We don't really talk about the league standings that much," Thompson said. "We just keep the focus on one night at a time. When it come time to play Lowellville we'll be ready."
Wellsville athletic director Don Elliot was pleasantly surprised when MyYTV reached out to him to televise the game at Wellsville High School.
"Chad Krispinsky from WKBN called me about three weeks ago and asked if we were interested in them coming down," Elliot said. "At the time, Mineral Ridge was very high in the standings. I was very surprised. In my eight years here that's the first time we've been on TV. It excited a lot of people around here."
The game is scheduled to be shown again at 9 a.m. today.
Kohl-whose team has also played both Lowellville and Mineral Ridge-said the Tigers were the best team he had seen this season.
"They have a lot of facets of the game covered," Kohl said. "They have shooters, length and they are unselfish. They really understand team basketball."
Mineral Ridge won the jayvee game, 52-49. Brazen Grodhaus had 11 points for the Tigers. Austin Reese had 12 points for the Rams.
MINERAL RIDGE: 7-7-15-21-50
MINERAL RIDGE SCORING: Zac Hagy 3-3-10, Ryan Nutter 0-3-3, Corey Phillips 4-3-11, Nick Furgeson 0-0-0, Jonathan Baker 4-0-10, Ethan Dukes 0-1-1, Brandon Perkins 4-4-12, Aaron Frontz 1-0-3. TEAM TOTALS: 16, 14-20: 50.
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Camden Douglas 8-2-20, Nate Scott 6-7-22, Seth Bradford 6-0-14, Jordan Sloan 2-1-5, Sam Macintosh 1-0-2, Brendon Carr 3-0-6, Jansen Stokes 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 27, 10-14: 71.
Three-point goals: Mineral Ridge 4 (Baker 2, Hagy, Frontz), Wellsvile 7 (Scott 3, Bradford 2, Douglas 2).