WELLSVILLE - The Wellsville Tigers took the first step on the tournament trail with a dominating 93-44 win over the visiting East Canton Hornets Tuesday night in Division IV sectional play.
The Tigers, who improve to 21-2, will host Leetonia Friday night in a sectional final. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. East Canton finishes their season with a 4-19 mark.
As usual, the Tigers were very well-balanced, with four starters in double figures and the fifth tallying eight.
Wellsville's attack was spearheaded by Camden Douglas' triple-double, that featured 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Nate Scott continued his hot-shooting ways with 27 points while grabbing nine missed shots. Seth Bradford drained four three-pointers on his way to 18 points. Bradford also pulled down seven rebounds and had three steals. Jordan Sloan sliced his way to 17 points, 11 of which came in the third quarter. He also had four assists. Brendon Carr netted eight points while playing stellar defense.
Nick Johnson led East Canton with 14 points. Hayden Miller dropped in 10, including two very deep three-pointers. Bryce Moldovan topped all rebounders with 15 and forcefully blocked nine shots.
The Tigers led the entire way, opening up a nine-point spread, 18-9 after the first eight minutes. All five starters found the hoop during the opening frame, with Bradford leading the way with five. Moldovan rejected five Tiger attempts in the first frame.
"We were a little sluggish in the beginning," said Wellsville head coach David "Bug" Thompson. "In the second quarter, East Canton tried to run with us. We started to trap and get some runouts."
The Tigers' offense increased the tempo in the second stanza as they looked to break at every opportunity. Bradford connected on three treys as Wellsville held a 42-23 advantage at intermission. Scott notched seven during the quarter, regularly finding his way to the rim.
"We came out slow in the first half," said Douglas. "We talked it over at halftime. It wasn't the greatest game we've played, but we'll take it."
The early portion of the third quarter was marked by turnovers and misfired shots by both teams. A timeout by Thompson quickly got the Tigers back under control. Sloan went on a rampage, driving to the hoop, time after time, as the Tigers led 58-33 after three quarters.
"We needed to get to the bucket," said Thompson of his timeout message. "Jordan took my instructions to heart and started to drive. He started getting to the bucket. He is an extremely smart basketball player and being left-handed gives him an advantage."
It was vintage Tiger basketball in the first two minutes of the final quarter, as the Orange and Black ran off 16 unanswered points to take a commanding 76-33 lead. Highlights included Douglas dunking over East Canton's Moldovan, a Scott lob to Douglas and Bradford completing a rare four-point play.
Shortly thereafter, both teams emptied their benches with Wellsville's Justin Miller ringing up the final two points in a 93-44 Tiger triumph.
"They were a physical team," Douglas said. "They kept coming at us. Fortunately, we came out of it with a win."
Wellsville's aggressive defense held the Hornets to just 27 percent (18 of 66) from the floor. Wellsville dominated the boards, pulling down 42 rebounds compared to 32 for East Canton.
"We did what we what we planned to, coming into the game," Thompson said. "Their big man was intimidating, especially in the first half. Cam's dunk over him in the the fourth quarter, seemed to take him out of his game."
For the season, Wellsville is hitting better than 40 percent from three-point range. Scott, Wellsville's all-time leading scorer, is hitting in the 70 percent range for all his shots from the floor this season.
EAST CANTON: 9-14-10-11-44
EAST CANTON SCORING: Buzzy Fahem 0-0-0, Andrew Kessler 3-0-6, Kody Kennedy 1-0-2, Hayden Miller 4-0-10, Bryce Moldovan 2-0-4, Nathan Powell 0-0-0, Nick Johnson 5-1-14, James McCullough 1-1-4, Eddie McCain 2-0-4, Spencer Clark 0-0-0, Brandon Ralston 0-0-0, Matthew Goddard 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 18, 2-4: 44.
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Camden Douglas 6-1-13, Tyeshaun Franklin 1-0-2, Nate Scott 9-6-27, Antonio Fultz 1-0-2, Seth Bradford 6-2-18, Brendon Carr 4-0-8, Jordan Sloan 7-2-17, Jansen Stoakes 0-0-0, Sam McIntosh 0-0-0, Justin Miller 1-0-2 Jake Green 1-0-3, Hayden Dalrymple 0-1-1. TEAM TOTALS: 36, 12-25: 93 .
Three-point goals: East Canton 6 (Johnson 3, Miller 2, McCullough), Wellsville 9 (Bradford 4, Scott 3, Sloan, Green).