After big wins wins over Hughesville and Mount Carmel in the first two rounds of district play the Wellsboro boys basketball team met Loyalsock in the championship match. Loyalsock and Wellsboro clashed early in the season with the Lancers taking a 87-40 win.
The Hornets were hoping for a different outcome Saturday night.
Unfortunately for Wellsboro, the Lancers dominated the first quarter taking an 18 point lead after just eight minutes of play.
Wellsboro responded with a strong second quarter. The Hornets defense came to life in the second quarter and held the Lancers to just five points. On offense the Hornets were also more productive. Joseph Grab, Brandyn Tuttle and Andrew Brelo all connected from deep to chip away at the Loyalsock lead. The halftime score was 32-20 with Loyalsock leading.
The Hornets got off to a poor start to begin the second half with three turnovers. Wellsboro would commit eight more turnovers before the end of the third, and a whopping 36 total in the game.
After being held to just five points in the second, the Lancers bounced back in the third quarter with a 22-point effort. On defense Loyalsock held Wellsboro to just 10 points. The one sided third quarter extended the Lancers lead to 24 heading into the fourth.
The Lancers cruised through the final eight minutes earning a 70-36 victory and claiming the NTL District IV title.
Brelo led the Hornets with 11 points.
Holden Kennedy finished with 6 points.
Grab closed out the night with 5 points for Wellsboro.
Loyalsock controlled Tuttle, Wellsboro’s leading scorer, in the matchup. The Lancers held Tuttle to just three points over 32 minutes. Tuttle averages 18 points a game, so the Lancers limiting him to just a three-pointer really hurt the Hornets offense.
Loyalsock had four players in double digits.
Gerald Ross led the Lancers with 16 points.
Aiden Giar added 13 points for Loyalsock.
Rees Watkins finished with 12 points all coming in the first three quarters.
Connor Watkins had 10 points for the Lancers.
The Hornets will need to put the tough loss behind them as they advance to states this week. In their first round game, the Hornets will meet Holy Redeemer Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at Troy High School. Holy Redeemer averages 60 points per game. To win, the Hornets will need to play solid defense and limit turnovers on the other end of the court.