WAYLAND — Joe Tronetti was forced to watch from the sideline the last three games, two of them wild Wellsville wins that went down to the final seconds.
Friday night at Wayland-Cohocton, Tronetti returned to the lineup from an ankle injury and promptly starred in another Wellsville thriller.
The Wellsville senior scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including the final three of the night — a game-winning three-point play with 4.7 seconds left that lifted the Lions to a 66-63 win over the Golden Eagles.
“Hopefully that was good for his confidence,” said Wellsville coach Raymie Auman. “I probably gave him too many minutes tonight, but coming into a weekend with some time to rest and us not playing again until next Friday, I got to thinking it’s his senior year, let’s let him go. He’s a tough kid, he’ll be fine. It was a battle tonight.
“I told them this is going to be an extremely tough game. This is a rejuvenated Way-Co team, and they’re very tough. Their record doesn’t come close to showing how good they are. Those kids battled, I have to give them a lot of credit. We feel fortunate to come out of here with a win.”
Indeed, Way-Co (1-5) led much of the second half. Tronetti tied it twice in the fourth quarter on a three and a pair of three throws, and an Alec Acampora three-ball briefly put the Lions up two with 2:30 left in regulation. Cameron Huber then drilled a three-pointer off a second-chance opportunity to give the Eagles the one-point edge. A Colin Cook free throw tied it, setting up a wild final minute.
Way-Co again capitalized on an offensive rebound as a Deandre Green put-back gave the Eagles the lead once again. Way-Co was in the driver’s seat, with possession and a two-point lead, but Max Jusianiec came up with a steal and the Eagles were whistled for an intentional foul on the ensuing fast break. Jusianiec hit both free throws to tie it up and the Lions then had an inbounds play with 11.7 seconds left.
A three-point attempt rimmed out, but the ball found its way into Tronetti’s hands as two Eagles scrambled to save the rebound before it went out of bounds. Tronetti put away the traditional three-point play with 4.7 seconds remaining.
“It’s just not like us,” Way-Co coach Mike Fields said of the late miscues. “Even the steal, it was a total we’re going to hold the ball, get fouled and go to the foul line situation, and that physicality got us. We’ll learn. Everything out here is a learning situation. We’ll be stronger and we’ll be ready next time. This is a smart group.
“That’s as physical a game as you’re going to get,” Fields added. “They didn’t back down, we didn’t back down. We have a 1-5 record but it’s really deceiving. It was a fast-paced, good high school game. The officials did a good job. It’s good to watch that type of competition. They went at us and we went at them. I was pleased with how we played.”
Wellsville (5-1) went up nine late in the second quarter, but Way-Co flipped the scoreboard and ripped off a 22-4 run to build a nine-point lead of its own late in the third quarter. Jusianiec burned the Eagles for 18 points in the first half, hitting five from downtown, but the Way-Co defense focused on shutting down the Wellsville junior in the second half.
“He had 18 in the first half, and two free throws the second half. We stuck Deandre Green on him and he did a great job,” Fields said. “Our problem was, we’re a three-point shooting team, and we were 3-for-20 (in the second half). It’s just not who we are. We’re usually pretty consistent. I’m surprised it was so close with how cold we were. I give credit to Connor and Cameron, who is still recovering from an ankle injury, and Deandre. We need more help with the shooting.”
Jusianiec led the Lions with 20 points, while Tronetti had 14, Aiden Cook 12 and Acampora 10. After being limited to eight points in the third quarter, the Lions responded with 21 in the fourth to rally to the win.
“They went to a junk defense, which was a great move on his part,” Auman said. “Early in the season a lot of times you haven’t had a chance to work on those things, so I’m glad they did it and now we’ll get to work on it. It kind of slowed us down and baffled us a little bit. We stopped cutting, we stopped moving because we couldn’t tell man or zone, and that’s what that defense is designed for. It’s good for the fact that now we’ve seen it and we’ll prepare for it, as well as other types of junk defense. With the offensive power we have, I really can’t see a team just completely leaving a bunch of kids. It caught us by surprise today and I’ve got imagine if we work on it we’ll be fine in the future.”
Connor Englert, playing with a face guard after an injury in the Hornell game, led Way-Co with 20 points. Huber followed with 17 and Green added 15. The Eagles host Haverling Tuesday.
Wellsville is off until a Friday visit from rival Hornell.
“It will be nice to be at home, but we’ve got to prepare for a very tough team, a team that can shoot lights out with quick guards that can get by people,” Auman said. “They have very skilled kids who are tough and play hard. It’s going to be another battle. Luckily we’ve got a week to rest and prepare. Kirk (Scholes) is a great coach and I’m sure he’s going to throw some stuff at us that will be extremely tough. We’ll see what happens.”
Wellsville 21 16 8 21 – 66 Wayland-Cohocton 21 12 17 13 – 63
WELLSVILLE: Alec Acampora 4 0-0 10, Max Jusianiec 6 3-3 20, Aiden Cook 5 2-4 12, Gage Caldwell 0 2-2 2, Joe Tronetti 4 3-6 14, Jimmy McKinley 2 0-2 4, Danny Reed 1 0-0 3, Colin Cook 0 1-2 1. Totals: 22 11-19 66. WAY-CO: DeAndre Green 6 3-5 15, Justin Horton 1 2-2 4, Connor Englert 8 1-5 20, Keeghan Savoir 1 0-0 3, Cameron Huber 5 3-5 17, Jamie Corman 2 0-0 4. Totals: 23 9-17 63. 3-point goals: Wellsville 11 (Jusianiec 5, Tronetti 3, Acampora 2, Reed), Way-Co 8 (Huber 4, Englert 3, Savoir). Total Fouls: Wellsville 15, Way-Co 17. Fouled out: Horton (W-C).