Wellsboro tops Canton to move into semi-finals
MANSFIELD - The Wellsboro Hornets ran away from the Canton Warriors in their District Four AA boys' playoff basketball game Friday night, winning the contest handily, 61-44.
The Hornets controlled the opening tip and never looked back, outscoring the Warriors 19-8 after the first quarter of play, thanks in large part to the offense of senior Jordan Jackson, who had seven points and two assists after the first quarter. Jackson finished the game with 12 points, six assists and four rebounds.
For Jackson, playing the role of floor general is how his team wins games. "I have to distribute the ball," he said. "I needed to facilitate the offense in order to win the game."
Wellsboro Head Coach Todd Outman noted the importance of Jackson's offense to their success. "(Jackson) is a play maker for us," he said. "He's a good ball handler, and we're very fortunate to have him."
The Hornets continued to apply the pressure through the second quarter, taking a 43-17 lead into halftime. A big factor in the Hornets' first half success was their ability to shut down the offense of Canton's Emmett Watson, who tallied four first half points, and Eddie Larcom, who was held scoreless through the first half.
"We wanted to challenge every shot," Outman said. "We knew coming in that we had to stop Larcom and Watson."
Watson would lead all scorers with 21 points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals, and Larcom finished with two points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals in the Warrior's loss.
The Warriors would mount a final attempt at a comeback in the second half, outscoring the Hornets 19-5 in the fourth quarter before eventually dropping the game to Wellsboro.
For Outman, his team's second half effort is something that he wants to improve headed into their next game. "We can't make the mistakes we made in the second half," he said. "We started taking chances that weren't there."
Wellsboro was led in scoring by Mike Pietropola, who tallied 15 points on five three point shots and grabbed four rebounds in the win. Pietropola was a big part of the first half run that saw the Hornets take a big lead into the half, as he scored twelve of his fifteen total points in the first two quarters. "We all clicked together to get on that big run," he said.
For Outman, Pietropola's big night from three point range was due in part to his team's ability to find the open shooter. "We penetrated well and kicked it out to (Pietropola), and he's a great jump shooter."
Also for the Hornets, Joe Doganiero scored 12 points and grabbed three rebounds, Matt Reese scored five points and led the team in assists with eight while also tallying four steals and five rebounds, Dylan Prough had 12 points and eight rebounds, Kieron Smethers scored three points and had four rebounds, and Dawson Prough chipped in with four points in the win.
For the Warriors, Tim Bassett had seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks, Wes Moore had seven points and eight rebounds, Christian Thoren scored three points, Mason Moore had two points and three rebounds and Jesse Lattimer had two points, two rebounds and three blocks in the loss.
Wellsboro will now face East Juniata in the Semi-finals next week.