By Doug Chapin
HUBBARD — With three senior starters, second-seeded McDonald High was the most experienced team in action Thursday night in a Division IV girls basketball doubleheader.
The Blue Devils (13-8) got a typical huge performance (34 points, 14 rebounds) from one of those seniors, Joh’Vonnie Mosley, in defeating Wellsville for the third time this season, 76-63, in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated.
McDonald will play next Thursday in the district semifinals against Crestview, a 53-30 winner over Youngstown Christian in the second game.
Wellsville (9-13), which had just one senior on its roster and started a freshman and three sophomores, took McDonald to overtime on the Blue Devils’ floor on Feb. 1.
“It’s very tough to play a team three times,” McDonald coach Rob Hilbun said. “They are a league rival and an up-and-coming team. The first time, we played them at their place and beat them by 10. Then later in the year they came to our place and it was overtime.
“We knew coming in they were improving throughout the season, plus they had played a game on this court already. We knew it was going to be a tough fight, they are getting better. Our girls haven’t been playing the best, but we had a good week of practice and the girls came out and played hard.”
Senior guard Joey Courtney added 15 points for McDonald, including four 3-pointers in the second half, all at opportune moments.
“Joey is a senior and she does not want this season to end,” Hilbun said. “She wants us to keep playing as long as we can and she proved it with what she did hitting those 3s at the end. Those were big, they seemed to demoralize Wellsville and give us a big boost. She’s been a great shooter, she’s our best 3-point shooter, and when she and Joh’Vonnie are on their game, we are very tough to beat.”
Sophomore point guard Taylor Stanley added 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists and senior Kaitlin Rutushin added seven points and four assists.
“A lot of people look at the scoring averages and think it’s all Joh’Vonnie Mosley,” Hilbun said. “She’s a great player, but our other girls are stepping up too. We know our opponents will focus on taking out Joh’Vonnie, and our supporting players are peaking at the right time and getting more confidence.”
Wellsville was led by sophomore Mikyla Tipton who scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Sophomore Irene Kiser scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers, freshman Meika Dalrymple dished out five assists and sophomore Rilee Livolsi grabbed eight rebounds.
With the score 57-55 at the 4:30 mark, Courtney nailed 3-pointers on consecutive McDonald possessions to open the lead to 63-55. The Blue Devils then scored the next eight points to put the game away.
Crestview (10-12), which has no seniors on its roster, held Youngstown Christian (8-14) to 0-for-8 shooting from the field in the second quarter, and 1-for-11 from the field in the fourth quarter.
Six-foot-two junior Shanelle Davner had 22 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, while freshman guard Ashley Harrison added 19 points, six steals and three assists. Marissa Leon and Morgan Newbauer added eight and seven rebounds, respectively.
Youngstown Christian, which has five freshmen in its eight-player rotation, was led by senior Sara Bell and junior Rashida Strozier with nine points apiece. Bell added five rebounds and four steals and Strozier had four assists.