NTL BOYS BASKETBALL: WELLSBORO WINS OVERTIME THRILLER AGAINST RIVAL TIGERS
(2024-02-01)Northern Tier WEST Sports Report
MANSFIELD — Round 2 of the Wellsboro / North Penn-Mansfield yearly rivalry needed overtime to decide a winner here Thursday night, with the Hornets coming out on top 56-52 to earn the regular season sweep of the host Tigers.
The Hornets led for a majority of the game .. taking leads of 10-7 after a quarter of play, 20-17 at the break and 34-31 as they headed to the fourth quarter, but it would be Mansfield taking a 2-point lead with :4.8 left on the clock in regulation.
Wellsboro’s Caden Smith took the ensuing in-bound pass and drove to the basket where he was fouled on a short, baseline jumper at the buzzer. The senior point guard stepped to the line with no time left on the clock and drained both freebies to send the game to overtime.
The four-minute overtime period proved to be a microcosm of the game-in-whole.. with Mansfield’s high-scoring senior Karson Dominick providing the offense for the Tigers, and Smith, fellow senior Hayes Campbell and sophomore Aaron Kirk answering every Tiger score and willing their Hornets to the win.
After a Dominick jumper opened the scoring in the extra frame, Smith drained a 3-pointer and Dominick answered with a runner to give NPM a 52-51 lead with just under two minutes left. But the Tigers’ scoring for the night was over and Campbell converted an old-fashioned 3-point play and Kirk was fouled and sent to the line with just 3 seconds left.
Kirk sank both of his only free throw attempts on the night to give the Hornets the 56-52 win.
“That was a huge team win tonight,” said first-year Hornet head coach Ron Doughtie, “Everyone contributed and we needed everything we got.”
Smith and Campbell each finished with 15 points and Kirk added 13 huge points off the bench while classmate Marek Mascho had six points and senior Ian Hoose added five.
“The senior leadership at the end of the game was huge,” said Doughtie, “and those two free throws by Caden with no time left to tie it were the definition of clutch.”
“I felt the two sophomores (Kirk and Mascho) really played well on both ends of the court,” Doughtie continued, “Aaron’s shots from three helped carry us through some rough spots and his foul shots at the end of OT were big for a young player at such a pivotal moment.”
On the other side of the court, Dominick kept the Tigers within striking distance all game .. especially in the second and third quarters.
After Wellsboro took a 3-point lead after one quarter .. 10-7, Dominick scored 8 points in the 10-all second quarter and 10 points in a 14-all third. The league’s leading scorer finished with 29 points on the night.
Mansfield senior Cade Kurzejewski added 8 points in the loss, while junior Cooper Shaw had six points, sophomore Jason Harer had four, junior Tate Strange had a three and junior Brady Stetter rounded out Mansfield’s scoring with two points.
For Wellsboro, Smith filled his stat line with six rebounds and six assists, while Campbell grabbed eight rebounds, Kirk had five, Hoose had three and Mascho had three assists and two boards.
The Hornets, now 12-5 overall on the season, 10-4 in the NTL and 6-2 in the large school division, will look to use the momentum from this win as they prepare to take on undefeated Troy next Tuesday in Wellsboro.
North Penn-Mansfield drops to 12-6 overall with the loss .. to 8-4 in the league and to 4-4 in the NTL-I. They’re scheduled to visit small school leader Northeast Bradford on Saturday.