Wellsville overwhelms Lions for No. 19
By JOHN KOVACH
The talented and well-balanced Wellsville High basketball team is trying not to look ahead to another rematch with undefeated McDonald — the only team to beat the Tigers this season — as they compete In the Division IV sectional basketball tournament at Struthers Fieldhouse.
Wellsville, getting good scoring from six players and dominating the rebounding, built a 42-24 halftime lead, then poured in 38 points in the third quarter and rolled to a 94-59 victory over Heartland Christian on Tuesday night in a first-round game.
The Tigers (19-2) advanced to play Lake Center Christian on Friday, right before McDonald opposes Western Reserve at 7:30. If both survive, they will meet in a district semifinal March 8 at 7 p.m.
“We lost both games to McDonald this year after leading by 10 points in the first game and 12 points in the second game. We lost our composure in both games,” said Wellsville coach David “Bug” Thompson.
So, if Wellsville gets another shot at McDonald, Thompson said his players will have to stay in control in the clutch down the stretch at crunch time.
“They will have to do it themselves. I can’t do it for them,” said Thompson. “They have to play hard and finish the game.”
But the coach had no problem with his team maintaining the upper hand against Heartland Christian (5-16), which is in its first year as a member of the OHSAA.
Michael Johnston led with 22 points while Jalen Desarro added 18 and Jeremy Carter 17.
Wellsville’s offense was overpowering, the Tigers going 40-for-71 (56.3 percent) from the field.
“We rebounded and ran the floor. We had domination of the boards,” said Thompson, whose team also drew nine points each from Deshon Pullie and Nunzio Lombardozzi and eight by Jordan Dalrymple.
“We have four guys averaging in double-figure scoring and one almost at 10 points a game.” So, “That’s the way we have been playing.”
Carter played an outstanding overall game with 11 rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocks, while Desarro added 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals, and Johnston chipped in with four assists and four steals.