DANSVILLE?— Dansville and visiting Wellsville stepped on the court Wednesday night streaking in opposite directions — the Mustangs winners of their last three, and the Lions stuck in a four-game skid.
Jordan Pearson changed all that.
The senior scored eight of her 22 points over the final 5:20 of regulation as Wellsville rallied late and stole a 52-49 victory from the Mustangs.
“I think the key was, yes she took over, but she let it come to her,” said Wellsville head coach Michelle Alvord. “We got more movement and weren’t trying to do too much off a quick pass or a quick screen. Once we got a few more touches and then were able to get it back to her she made very good decisions down the stretch. We needed this one.”
Wellsville (4-4) was down by seven when Pearson hit a triple from the top of the key with 5:20 remaining. That sparked a 16-6 run for the Lions the rest of the way.
Five straight points from Pearson pushed the Wellsville lead to 47-43 with just under two minutes to play, but Dansville (5-4) didn’t go quietly. Kim Levee cut the lead in half with a drive, then Rayanna Anderson answered with a runner in the lane for Wellsville.
Levee responded again, scoring four straight points, including two clutch free throws that knotted the game at 49 apiece in the final minute. Morgan McNeill put in the game-winner on a strong drive to the hoop with nine seconds left, and Kacey Kane hit a free throw to help seal the win after Dansville turned the ball over following McNeill’s bucket.
“We did a great job throughout the game of controlling the ball,” said Dansville head coach Brandon Morrow. “Their halfcourt traps really weren’t bothering us, but then we went through a two, three minute stretch there where we just didn’t protect the basketball and made some foolish turnovers. They were able to capitalize, go down and make layups, and that really put us in a bad spot.”
Levee had a look at a deep three at the buzzer, but the heave misfired. The loss spoiled another great night for the senior captain, who had a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds.
The Mustangs are without the services of injured guard Kelsey Poplawski, a two-time Great 8 selection.
“Levee’s playing really hard,” Morrow said. “Unfortunately with Kelsey Poplawski out she’s really had to step up and help with some things. She’s really taken over a huge role at the offensive end. I’m proud of her effort. I’m proud of all their effort. It’s not the effort that bothered us, it was the execution that bothered us at the end.”
Both teams were in the penalty with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter, and over 20 total fouls were called in the second half alone.
“We just have to play through it and keep playing hard,” Alvord said. “I thought in the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter we were playing afraid to foul, and that was hurting us more than if we had fouled. It was a physical battle.
“We finally clued in on Levee. She’s a tough player. She outworked us. She sure doesn’t have size on us, but I’d say she had a lot of heart on us in that first half. I thought we finally did what we needed to do defensively and adjusted on her as well.”
Pearson added six rebounds, five assists and four steals to her 22 points. Kayle Lewis had eight points, while Anderson had six points, three assists, three steals and a bucket-saving block on the fast break. McNeill grabbed a team-high seven boards to go along with her six points and three steals.
The Lions also got a boost from the return of Kacey Kane, out since a Dec. 23 trip to Owego. She grabbed six boards, and Kelly Kane had six points before fouling out.
Sabrina Didas added a double-double for Dansville with 10 points and 11 boards. Mollie Schuster chipped in six points. The Lady Mustangs host Bath-Haverling (6-2) Friday night.
“They’re good. We have to come ready to play,” Morrow said. “We know the Smith girl is pretty good. She can score in transition and she’s a heck of an athlete. We’re going to do our best to put a gameplan together to try to shut them down.”
Wellsville is also back in action Friday, traveling to Canisteo-Greenwood.
“I don’t know if Amber Edwards is back or not, but Mike Wright does a good job and they’re a good ball club,” Alvord said. “I’m sure it will be another battle, but I’ll take this one tonight coming over here and getting a win from Dansville.”
Wellsville 14 9 10 19 — 52 Dansville 11 13 15 10 — 49
WELLSVILLE:?Kayle Lewis 4 0-0 8, Morgan McNeill 2 0-2 4, Jordan Pearson 8 5-13 22, Kelly Kane 3 0-0 6, Kacey Kane 3 0-0 6, Rayanna Anderson 1 1-5 6, Amy Lorshbaugh 0 3-4 3. DANSVILLE:?Kim Levee 10 7-9 27, Breden Gibson 1 1-2 3, Mollie Schuster 3 0-0 6, Nikki Linzy 1 1-7 3, Margo Didas 0 0-2 0, Sabrina Didas 4 2-8 10. 3-point goals: Wellsville 1 (Pearson); Dansville 0. Fouled out: Kelly Kane (W).