Tigers, Beavers meet on the big stage
By CHUCK GREENWOOD
CLEVELAND – While it may have been played in Cleveland, there was no lacking for emotion as the Beaver Local Beavers and the Wellsville Tigers squared off Monday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena.
After a sluggish start, the Tigers got their running game going on the way to a 72-57 win.
The triumph ups Wellsville’s record to 7-0, while the Beavers are 4-4.
Nate Scott paced the Tiger attack with 24 points. Seth Bradford tossed in 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Jordan Sloan tallied 11 and dished out six assists. Camden Douglas had eight points and 12 assists. Brendon Carr came off the bench for six points and six rebounds. Sloan, Scott and Douglas each grabbed five rebounds.
Jared Lyder topped the Beavers with 23 points and took game honors with nine rebounds. He also passed out four assists. Chase Hilliard netted 13 points, followed by Chandler Cornell with six and Hayden Grafton five.
Wellsville outrebounded Beaver Local, 34-24, and the Tigers’ pressure defense forced Beaver Local into 20 turnovers.
Unanswered runs were the difference in the game. An 11-0 run over the final minute of the first quarter and the first two minutes of the second, enabled the Tigers to take 17-14 lead that they never relinquished. A Lyder hoop ended that run, but then Wellsville went on a 13-2 juggernaut with five different players finding the hoop.
“Once we finally speeded up the tempo, it made a huge difference,” Wellsville coach Dave “Bug” Thompson said. “If we’re not running, we’re not playing well.”
A Bradford basket off a Sloan feed, followed by a Sloan driving hoop and three charity tosses by Bradford, enabled the Tigers to take a 32-20 halftime lead.
“As we tell our guys, basketball is a game of runs, and it’s important how you react,” Beaver Local coach Jeremy Christen said. “We were unable to counter their runs and that was the difference.”
Two Lyder baskets and two foul shots by Hilliard trimmed the Wellsville lead to 36-26 wtih 5:18 remaining in the third quarter. At this juncture, the Tigers fastbreak kicked into overdrive as they dazzled the large contingent of local fans with crisp passing on the break. Bradford and Scott were each twice on the receiving end of touch passes from Douglas. The 11-0 run ended with Wellsville leading 47-26 with 3:22 showing on the third quarter clock.
“When our guys finally got their heads up and and starting looking up the floor, our break really started to be successful,” Thompson said. “We were sluggish in the first half. It may have been due to the short the warmup time (seven minutes), the big floor, or whatever. Once we got loosened up, we played much better.”
A 12-2 Tiger run at the beginning of the fourth quarter left the Beavers trailing 65-40. Beaver Local mounted a 12-0 run of their own late in the game, before both teams cleared their benches, allowing their younger players to get the chance to play on an NBA floor.
“I want to express my appreciation to our athletic director Eric Lowe, Wellsville’s athletic director Don Elliott and Brenda Thompson for all of their hard work in putting this together for both teams,” Christen said. “This has been a great experience for us.”
Wellsville sold approximately 425 tickets and Beaver Local 235.
Most of the people waited around for the NBA game on Monday night, which saw the Cleveland Cavaliers lose to Detroit Pistons, 115-92.
“We got our butts handed to us tonight,” Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson said.
This was Wellsville’s third game in four days. They will get a much-deserved rest as they don’t play again until Saturday, Jan. 4, when they host East Liverpool.
The Beavers will host Crestview on Friday.
BEAVER: 14- 6-16-21-57
BEAVER LOCAL SCORING: Chase Hilliard 5-2-13, Jared Lyder 9-5-23, Hayden Grafton 2-0-5, Ethan Campbell 1-0-3, Chase Wilcox 0-0-0, Chandler Cornell 3-0-6, Josh Underwood 0-0-0, Kevin Mackey 0-0-0, Tyler Kithas 0-0-0, Christian Cooper 0-0-0, Conner Hall 1-0-3, Josh Beck 0-0-0, Bryce McKenzie 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 23, 7-7: 57.
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Camden Douglas 2-3-8, Tyshaun Franklin 0-0-0, Nate Scott 9-5-24, Antonio Fultz 2-0-4, Seth Bradford 5-4-14, Brendon Carr 3-0-6, Jordan Sloan 4-2-11, Jansen Stoakes 0-0-0, Nigel Spann 0-0-0, Sam McIntosh 0-0-0, Branzen Grodhaus 0-2-2, Justin Miller 1-0-3, Jake Green 0-0-0, Hayden Dalrymple 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 26, 16-28: 72.
Three-point goals: Beaver Local 4 (Hilliard, Grafton, Campbell, Hall), Wellsville 4 (Douglas, Scott, Sloan, Miller).