LEETONIA, Ohio (WYTV) – Wellsville is now on the cusp of outright clinching the ITCL White Tier after their 80-56 victory over Leetonia on Friday.
Wellsville is undefeated in tier play and can clinch the White Tier with a win over Columbiana next Tuesday.
The Bears charged out of the gate with an 8-2 run to start the game.
Isaac Stecker was the go-to guy early with six first quarter points. Stecker finished with 10 points and 7 boards. Danny McCool had 7 points that included two three-pointers. Devon Champney had 4 points and 6 rebounds.
The Tigers would go on three different double-digit scoring runs to try to put the Bears away.
Jake Green recorded his first career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Garrett Scott was relentless on the glass, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Michael Shope was out of action for the Tigers with flu-like symptoms. Scott explained that his absence forced the team to increase offensive tempo.
Justin Miller scored 19 of his 30 points in the first half. Wellsville outscored Leetonia 24-15 in the third quarter and never looked back.
The Bears managed to trim the deficit to 12 with 6:36 left in the game behind Damon Cuister, who finished with a team high of 16 points off the bench.
Wellsville played physical defense late, holding the Bears to just six points for the remainder of the contest.
Leetonia Head Coach Jeff Hammond responded positively to his team’s effort.
“We were only down seven at the half, so I was pleased with how hard we played. Cuister is a great kid, so it was great that he had a big night. Wellsville has some really special players,” he said. “We told the guys in the locker room that sometimes when we play teams like these, we have to ask ourselves whether we gave it our all and I definitely believe we played as hard as we could.”
Wellsville Head Coach David “Bug” Thompson was confident after the win.
“We expect to win the White Tier, so we need to keep moving the ball and finding the open man. Brandon Patterson played great defense throughout the night. He doesn’t have to score because he hustles so hard, that it creates space for the other guys.”
Thompson also commended Columbiana player Burdette Baker.
“We will need to bring help defense while he is in the post to get him out of his rhythm.”
Wellsville improves to 15-2 and hosts Columbiana on Tuesday, while Leetonia falls to 4-13 as they travel to Lisbon.
The Tigers also won the JV game 61-16.