Wellsville advances to OVAC final

WELLSVILLE – The Wellsville boys basketball team proved to be red hot in one league this season, and are looking the same in another.

The Tigers controlled Bridgeport from the very beginning as a collaborative effort from four seniors helped the Tigers knock out the Bulldogs, 90-55, Tuesday in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 2-A semifinals.

The Tigers will be playing for their first OVAC championship since 1996. They have already clinched the Inter-Tri County League lower tier.

“It would be great to win two,” Wellsville coach David “Bug” Thompson said. “To win the ITCL back-to-back then win the OVAC, we hadn’t won it since 1996. It’s been a while.”

The Tigers will battle Wheeling Central, who knocked out Caldwell 75-48, in the championship game on Saturday at Ohio University Eastern.

“We’re one of the most unselfish teams that I’ve seen play in high school,” senior Jordan Sloan said. “We all share the ball and whoever’s hot is hot.”

From the beginning, the Tigers (18-1) took control with first-quarter scoring from seniors Camden Douglas, Nate Scott and Jordan Sloan as the defense held the Bulldogs to just five points.

Douglas and Scott led the Tigers with 19 points apiece. Douglas also had 13 assists and eight rebounds.

Sloan, who scored 17 points, noted that defense was a major key to the Tigers’ victory over the Bulldogs.

“We stepped up our defense trying to win this OVAC tournament,” Sloan said. “Bug said defense is going to get it for us, so that’s what we have to do.”

Then the Tigers opened the gap wider with senior Seth Bradford’s efforts starting with the second quarter. Bradford added 18 for the Tigers, adding to an already-big effort.

As much as Thompson was pleased with the collaborative effort, he was expecting the scoring to happen.

“This is how we should’ve been scoring all along,” Thompson said.

The Bulldogs found out how hot the Tigers were in the beginning as turnovers hurt the Bulldogs. By the second half, the Tigers led 37-16, and the Bulldogs didn’t quite have an answer for the strong offense.

“We missed some easy shots, and they just went on a run,” Bridgeport coach Donnie Cash said. “One thing we stressed was our guards rotating back to try to stop the break, and we didn’t do that tonight, and off to the races they went and they finished.”

The Bulldogs picked up the pace in the third quarter, still trailing by 21 points. Parker Dyson led the Bulldogs with 16 points and J.C. Cash with 15.

“I thought we were a lot better in the second half,” Dyson said. “If we would’ve played like that earlier, we would’ve been in it. It might have been a little different, but they’re a good team though.”

Tipoff for the Wheeling Central-Wellsville game is set for 8 p.m. Saturday. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, will face Caldwell in a consolation game Friday night.

Game notes

The 50/50 raffle prize was $112, which was donated back by the winner.

Wellsville senior Shayla Hamilton sang the national anthem.

The Tigers’ only OVAC loss this season was to East Liverpool.

The Tigers qualified for the OVAC tournament, having played the minimum six league opponents this season.

Wellsville won the junior varsity game 77-57. Hayden Dalrymple led the Tigers with 27 points, while Rodrigo Doituza scored 16 for the Bulldogs.

BRIDGEPORT: 5-11-22-17-55

WELLSVILLE: 14-23-22-31-90

BRIDGEPORT SCORING: Koty Seevers 4-0-8, J.C. Cash 6-2-15, Bailey McGrath, Q.J. Williams 3-4-10, Rodrigo Doizuta 0-0-0, Mike Pyatt 0-0-0, Parker Dyson 8-0-16, Zach Herink 0-0-0, Bailey Sieber 1-1-3. TEAM TOTALS: 23, 7-15: 55

WELLSVILLE SCORING: Cameron Douglas 8-0-19, Tyshawn Franklin 2-1-5, Nate Scott 8-1-19, Seth Bradford 8-0-18, Brendon Carr 3-0-6, Jantsen Stoakes 0-0-0, Jordan Sloan 6-3-17, Sam McIntosh 2-0-4, Justin Miller 0-0-0, Hayden Dalrymple 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 38, 5-6: 90

Three-point goals: Bridgeport 2 (Cash, McGrath), Wellsville 9 (Douglas 3, Bradford 2, Scott 2, Sloan 2).