WAYLAND — For three quarters, the rematch of the Section V, Class B championship game from just over eight months ago was shaping up to be a defensive thriller and come down to a last shot.
However, the Wayland-Cohocton Eagles outscored the Wellsville Lady Lions 14-4 in the fourth quarter on the way to a 35-24 win.
Wellsville (3-1) had an early 6-2 lead and Way-Co (3-1) had a 3-point lead in the second quarter, but other than that, the teams traded occasional baskets and lead changes until late in the fourth quarter.
Junior Alex Button scored with 4:45 left in the game to give Wayland-Cohocton its biggest lead to that point, 24-20. With Wellsville down by five late and forced to foul, Leaha Langerman made two free throws then Button drained 7-of-8, including the last seven of the game. A clutch basket by Kadeynn McInnis sealed the win.
Button finished with a game-high 18 points, mostly from the line as she scored single field goals in each quarter, two of them 3-pointers. Before the game, her team honored her with flowers and a basketball for scoring her career 1,000th point last season on the road. It was the first home game for the Eagles since that accomplishment.
"I thought defensively we played well enough, we held a good team to 35 points and 10 of those were free throws down the stretch," said Wellsville coach Michelle Alvord. "We just were not efficient on offense. When you play a team like Way-Co and a player with the caliber of Alex Button you want to limit the amount of shots she gets and I thought we did that, but again, our offense was not there."
Way-Co coach Al Best said the start of the season was tough because of injuries.
"I did not know what to expect to tell you the truth, we had three starters back from last year, Alex Button, Kadeynn McInnis and Maggie McAllister. Maggie was basically out for two or three weeks and when she came back, Alex was out," said Best. "So going into last week and our first games, we did not have all of them together. Our first game against York we scored 26 points and we were lucky to win, we could not stick with (defending Class C state champion) South Seneca, they are a very good team, but boy did we put it together against Waterloo.
"Tonight, there were three quarters of misery, just misery. But we worked hard on defense and finally got things going on offense in the fourth quarter," Best continued. "Honestly, I don't know what we are going to get quarter-to-quarter. We have potential, but potential gets coaches fired! We need to get it together."
For Wellsville, Jordyn Pettit had 12 rebounds and three steals, while Quincy Buckley had six points on six free throws and had three assists. Taylor Adams had three steals and four rebounds, and Erin Lawson scored eight points with five rebounds and three steals. Wayland-Cohocton's 3-point lead in the second quarter was erased when Jaden Hyslip came off the bench and scored four points.
McInnis had six points for Wayland-Cohocton. Best said the rematch of the finals (a 51-48 Wellsville win) was on their mind.
"I think it was more on our mind, we lost to them in the finals, we lost to them three times last year. Our kids are thinking, 'Jeez we've got to beat these people.' I'm not saying they weren't but when you are the loser from the year before you have to get ready to play," said Best. "Army beat Navy in football (Saturday) for the first time in 14 years, what do you think that Army locker room was like before the game?
"Wellsville had not lost a game, they won a championship last year and the girls coming back know how to win, they have been coached well consistently and we knew it would be a close game and it was. It was not decided until the last minute," Best added.
Wellsville hosts Jasper-Troupsburg on Thursday and Whitesville on Saturday night. Wayland-Cohocton hosts Keshequa on Dec. 21.
Wellsville 7 7 6 4 — 24
Way-Co 5 9 7 14 — 35
Wellsville: Quincy Buckley 0 6-6 6; Morgan Sibble 0 0-0 0; Taylor Adams 0 0-0 0; Erin Lawson 4 0-0 8; Jana Whitehouse 0 0-0 0; Morgan Franklin 1 0-0 2; Jordyn Pettit 1 2-10 4; Jaden Hyslip 2 0-0 4. Totals: 8 8-16 24.
Wayland-Cohocton: Maggie McAllister 0 0-0 0; Alyslim Holbrook 0 0-0 0; Rachel Joseph 0 0-0 0; Madison Gregorius 1 0-2 2; Leaha Langerman 2 2-2 4; Delaney Brehm 1 0-0 2; Mackenzie Johnson 0 1-4 4; Kadeynn McInnis 1 4-4 6; Alex Button 4 8-9-18. Totals: 9 15-21 35.
3-pointers: Wellsville (none). Way-Co 2 (Button). Total fouls: Wellsville 17, Way-Co 10.
JV game: Wellsville 32, Way-Co 14.