When the Lowellville and Wellsville boys basketball teams get together, the game usually goes down to the wire.
Tuesday’s Senior Night game at the Tigers’ gymnasiumwas no exception.
Nate Scott scored a game-high 23 points while Jordan Sloan added 11 as the Tigers defeated the Rockets, 58-56 to move to within a game of clinching the Inter Tri-County League Tier Two championship.
“Every time we get together with Lowellville you can expect a hard fought game,” Wellsville coach David “Bug” Thompson said. “Each team hung in there, made some key plays and committed some costly turnovers but that is to be expected from two very aggressive teams.
“This senior group came in as freshmen, stuck together and played as well as any senior class,” Thompson said. “Nate is our all-time leading scorer for a reason and he came up big for us tonight.”
Five points by Scott helped the Tigers (15-1, 10-1) take an early 12-5 advantage.
But Lowellville’s Paolo DePasquale scored seven of his team-high 22 points in the opening quarter as the Rockets (13-3, 8-3) closed on a 13-4 run to tie the game, 16-16.
Five points by Scott in the second frame helped Wellsville open a 27-26 halftime advantage.
“We beat an excellent Lowellville team tonight; a team that didn’t quit and just kept coming right at us,” Scott said. “They played us defensively above the three-point line the entire game so we had to move the ball around in order to get the shot that we wanted.”
Scott scored 11 consecutive points in the third quarter for a 42-34 advantage.
Wellsville led 44-41 heading to the final frame, opening a 52-47 lead on a bucket by Sloan with about two minutes remaining.
Two free throws each by Nick Ballone and DePasquale cut the Tigers’ lead to 52-51 with 57 seconds remaining.
A triple by Ballone at the buzzer was too little, too late as the Rockets fell for just the second time in nine road games.
“Anytime you come to Wellsville you know you are going to be in a battle,” Rockets coach Mike Mangine said. ““I could not have been more proud of the intensity we brought to the game tonight.
“We understood what was on the line and our defense responded,” Mangine said. “It was a well-played game by both teams at both ends of the court.”
Wellsville won for the seventh straight time and improved to 8-1 at home.