(From the Review)
WELLSVILLE — For the Wellsville Tigers boys basketball team, Monday’s 61-54 win over Valley Christian can only be described as a grind.
The Tigers held off multiple runs by the Eagles, injuries to starters and hard fouls to grind out a huge Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference victory.
Wellsville improves to 7-2 and 4-1 in the EOAC and Valley falls to 6-3 and 4-2 in the league. Wellsville and Lisbon are one game behind Southern Local for first place in the EOAC. Valley is two games back.
“We have a young team,” Wellsville coach David Thompson said. “We only have one senior and the rest are freshman and sophomores and they are starting to learn to play together. They are understanding the game a little more.”
Isaiah Greathouse and Luke Green had 17 points for the Tigers and Jaxon Brewer added 14 points.
“Isaiah is playing great right now,” Thompson said. “Couldn’t ask for any more. He’s playing offense and defense.”
Green is the senior leader for the Tigers and leading scorer, but left the game in the third quarter after falling awkwardly on his wrist. He did not return until late in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a great team player,” Thompson said.
Even with the injury to his shooting wrist and clearly still in pain, Green returned to the game and knocked down five huge free throws to ice the game late in this contest and keep the Tiger lead at two and three possessions.
“We just gotta have trust in each other,” Green said. “You have to play through the pain.”
Even when Green was out, the Tigers were able to stay consistent on offense and hold their lead.
“This group that was in, we have been together since fifth grade so we just came together and played how we always play together,” Greathouse said.
For Valley Christian, Sekou Stanley had 25 points, but they simply could not hit enough shots down the stretch to close the gap or play the defense they expect of themselves.
“You gotta hit shots against the zone,” Valley Christian coach Dolph Carroll said. “It wasn’t our offense, it was our lack of defense. Our defense was awful. Credit to Wellsville but we did not play nearly as capable as we can defensively. A zone will slow you down, that is what it’s for.
“We have to defend,’ Carroll said. “You have to defend in this league. If you don’t defend, you won’t win a lot of games. Offense takes care of itself because the kids want to play offense.”
Thompson was pleased with the Tigers defensive effort against a talented Valley team.
“It was great,” Thompson said. “Isaiah played good on top and on the bottom of the zone. Jaxon is playing good on the bottom, they are playing real well and they are talking to each other. Before they weren’t talking to each other.
“Now they are starting to play together as a team,” Thompson added.
Moving forward, the Tigers know what they need to do to be successful in the big games.
“Keep bringing the energy in the game from the jump, keep playing team defense and passing the ball around,” Greathouse said.
“Keep the tempo up and play defense,” Green said.
“We just gotta stay focused and keep playing the way we are playing,” Thompson said. “Aggressive, playing the zone and they are playing well in the zone. I can’t ask for any more.
“Be able to handle the pressure against the press without panicking,” Thompson added. “We panicked a little against the press and once they realized they can settle down and dribble the ball and don’t have to catch and throw it. That will come with experience.”
In jayvee action, Valley won 48-38. For Wellsville, Eddie Stock had nine points.
Wellsville is at United today — for a girls-boys doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m. — for the second of four games this week. Thompson is not worried about the quick turnaround.
“They are in shape,” he said. “We got them in shape.”
Valley will host Columbiana today.
VALLEY SCORING: Joey Battista 0-0-0, Sekou Stanley 9-2-25, Zavion Howard 3-0-7, Mark Revere 6-0-14, Brandon Paige 1-1-4, Neshon Gurley 0-0-0, Jon’trell Mixon 1-2-4, Jon’tae Pabellon 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 20, 5-14: 54.
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Luke Green 4-6-17, Isaiah Greathouse 6-4-17, Jaxon Brewer 6-0-14, Kolby Ramsey 3-0-6, Gavin Kountz 2-1-5, Eddie Stock 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 22, 11-18: 61.
Three-point goals: Valley 9 (Stanley 5, Revere 2, Howard, Paige), Wellsville 6 (Green 3, Brewer 2, Greathouse).