Tigers feel the heat, get burned by Knights

STRUTHERS – The Wellsville Tigers fell 74-47 to the St. Thomas Aquinas Knights Monday night in Division IV district semifinal action at Struthers Fieldhouse.

St. Thomas will face the winner of Tuesday’s district semifinal game between Lowelllville and McDonald on Friday in the district championship game.

The Tigers conclude the season with 22-3 record. St. Thomas, winners of their last five games, are 14-11.

Wellsville was paced by Jordan Sloan with 18 tallies. Seth Bradford netted 10 and Nate Scott nine. Bradford led Wellsville on the boards with 10 rebounds, followed by Camden Douglas with four. Douglas and Sloan each passed out three assists.

St. Thomas’ Anthony Moeglin topped all scorers with 19 points. He was joined in double figures by Austin Hill 12, Jacob Paul 12 and Daniel Piero 11.

The Tigers were plagued by a season-high 28 turnovers. They shot 50 percent (17 of 34) from the floor on all shots, but only connected on five of 16 three-pointers, after averaging better than 40 percent on three-pointers for the season.

“We couldn’t handle the pressure. We let the pressure handle us,” said Wellsville head coach David Thompson. “I think we let their pressure intimidate us. We hurried our shots.”

St. Thomas jumped out to 5-0 lead before a Bradford three-pointer got the Tigers on the board with 6:20 remaining in the first quarter. Wellsville took their first lead of the night at 13-11 on a Sloan three-pointer from the top of the key at the 1:53 mark of the first quarter.

St. Thomas outscored the Tigers 8-3 during the remainder of the quarter to claim a 19-16 lead after the first eight minutes.

The Tigers tied the score at 19-19 and 21-21 on two baskets by Scott. Moeglin hit a three from the left corner, followed by a Piero drive enabling the Knights to go up 26-21. The Tigers closed to 26-24 on a Bradford charity toss and a dazzling drive by Scott with 4:36 remaining in the second quarter. The Knights ran off the last 13 points of the half to take a 37-24 halftime lead.

“We didn’t execute our offense,” said Thompson. “We got caught standing around on defense and it just snowballed.”

Forcing the Tigers into four consecutive turnovers, St. Thomas ran off the first eight points of the third quarter, building a 21-point lead, 45-24. Wellsville started to find the range as Douglas, Brendon Carr, Sloan and Bradford all found the hoop, cutting the deficit to 16 at 49-33. St. Thomas answered with an 9-4 run to lead 58-37 after three quarters.

The Knights opened up as much as a 28-point lead in the fourth quarter as both teams substituted liberally during the latter portion of the final quarter. Freshman Branzen Grodhaus rang up the Tigers’ final point of the season with just eight seconds remaining.

“You don’t get a group like this very often,” said Thompson. “I am so proud of how they played all year. When they look back on their careers, they will have nothing to be disappointed about. This, just wasn’t how we wanted it to end. They are truly a special group.”

ST. THOMAS: 19-18-21-16-74

WELLSVILLE: 16-8-13-10-47

ST. THOMAS SCORING: Pete Ruthe 1-1-3, Daniel Piero 5-1-11, Sam Pusateri 2-0-4, Anthony Moeglin 9-0-19, Jacob Paul 3-6-12, Gino Pellegrene 1-0-2, Jim Donnelly 2-0-5, Frank DiMarzio 2-0-4, Austin Hill 5-0-12, Brad Duplin 0-0-0, Cullen Smith 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 31, 8-14: 74.

WELLSVILLE SCORING: Camden Douglas 3-0-6, Tyeshaun Franklin 0-0-0, Nate Scott 4-0-9, Antonio Fultz 0-0-0, Seth Bradford 3-3-10, Brendon Carr 1-1-3, Jordan Sloan 6-3-18, Jansen Stoakes 0-0-0, Sam McIntosh 0-0-0, Branzen Grodhaus 0-1-1, Justin Miller 0-0-0, Jake Green 0-0-0, Hayden Dalrymple 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 17, 8-14: 47.

Three-point goals: St. Thomas 4 (Hall 2, Moeglin, Donnelly), Wellsville (Sloan 3, Scott, Bradford).