WELLSVILLE – The Globetrotters were playing in nearby Alfred, but the three-point bonanza was on display in Wellsville on the Lions’ Senior Night. With visiting Wayland-Cohocton closing in fast at the end of the third quarter, Wellsville head coach Raymie Auman called upon a couple of his seniors.
Alec Acampora and Joe Tronetti.
The pair of sharpshooters started the fourth quarter just the way Wellsville wanted to, as they both knocked down a pair of triples in the team’s first four possessions to set the record straight, taking what was a close seven-point lead over Way-Co and transforming it into a 73-57 runaway victory to capture Class B2’s No. 1 seed in sectional play Monday night.
“The seniors wanted this game, and they made sure they weren’t going to lose it for us,” said Auman. “It was a little nerve-racking at the start, and they held Way-Co down. That was a big deal, starting the game off with some big defensive stops. Things started to click from there. Way-Co changed from a man to zone, and we licked our chops with it. It was easy to shoot the shot. Make or miss, you’re going to get something good from it.”
You could say it was a slow go in the first eight minutes of play. With under five minutes in the quarter, both teams were tied up at five when Acampora started up a 6-0 run to give the Lions (15-5) their first lead of the game.
That was cut down almost immediately after a timeout, as Way-Co (10-9) cut the deficit down to three after closing out the period with seven of the last 11 points.
“We haven’t been able to come back from deficits so far this year, but this game was encouraging for us as we go into sectionals,” said Way-Co coach Mike Fields. “We had some really good efforts on offense tonight, and we came back with it on defense as well as with our rebounding. I’m pleased we’re going in the right direction, and at the right time.”
In the second quarter, it came together for Wellsville.
It was a 27-point period for the Lions that was set up by Acampora and Max Jusianiec, who went back-to-back with a triple each followed by a Colin Cook lay-in to start an 8-0 run in the first two minutes.
The three-pointers would then fall down to keep the run alive, as Wellsville made it 20-8 with under halfway to go until the break. The period would come to a close with the hosts outscoring the Eagles by 27-14 count in all to take a strong 42-26 lead heading into the locker room.
Both teams deal back and forth to initiate the third quarter, with the Lions maintaining the lead. Not long after, something began to click for the Eagles.
“We made a great run at the end there to cut it to three or four, and we needed to have that big basket,” said Fields. ”We were able to find our way into the lane. That opened things up for our shooters. That’s the biggest thing, and we worked on that.”
Cameron Huber began to light it up for Way-Co, as he led the charge from outside with a pair of three-pointers that jumpstarted an 11-0 run that saw Wellsville’s lead shrink considerably, from 16 down to just four in a matter of minutes. Huber finished with a game-high 25 points, with three of the team’s eight triples.
Auman said that his brigade lost a little big of energy during Way-Co’s run.
“That’s their gameplan, and they’re great at it,” he said. “They play with a lot of energy, and they push the ball and try to get you to collapse. They’re a dangerous team, and they had a stretch where they cut our lead from 20 down to four at one point. We got a little caught up in the score, and losing some energy and other things. We needed to refocus.”
The Lions were able to enlarge the lead once more before the third period buzzer rang out. That’s when Auman called upon his seniors during the huddle before the start of the fourth quarter.
Acampora and Tronetti stepped in, as they started Wellsville off with four straight three-pointers in their first four possessions of the fourth quarter, growing their lead to an insurmountable amount to keep Way-Co in the rearview mirror for good.
“I told them that someone’s got to step up and make this happen. We ran some plays to get them some slips, and they felt it. If you feel it, let it go. Offense is about confidence and rhythm, and those shots found their way in,” said Auman. “They did to us what we did to them in the second half, but luckily they ran out of gas toward the end. That’s where our depth helped us, and there were a few guys that really made an impact. It helped our legs to finish the game.”
As for Way-Co, closing the gap as much as they did, Fields says it was a big positive to take away from the contest going forward.
“In the future, I hope we get to have the confidence to make that big shot because that’s what this team really needs,” he said. “Wellsville really lit it up in their one stretch, and they buried us in the fourth quarter. It was a great effort, and they did everything so well. We had some good sets, and Wellsville did the same thing. They don’t need space to knock down those shots, they can make them. They’re very smooth.”
Acampora led all Wellsville scorers with a team-high 23 points, including five of the team’s 11 total treys from downtown. Tronetti followed suit with 16 points. Colin Cook was strong inside, gathering 14 points.
While the Eagles were paced behind Huber’s big evening, Connor Englert pitched in with 11 points, while Jamie Carman had a pair of triples. Way-Co will return home Wednesday night for a big Livingston County Division I showdown with Livonia, in a game that will likely determine the league champion.
As for the Lions, they’ve all but put a bow on Class B2’s top seed after the victory. They will now wait for the Sectional outlook to shake out before their first game, which will likely take place next weekend in the Lion’s Den.
“It gives us some time to work on things, which is something that we need to do. We won't take anyone for granted. We have to bring our energy every single night, and keep our eyes on the prize," said Auman.
Wayland-Cohocton 12 14 21 10 – 57
Wellsville 15 27 12 19 – 73
WAY-CO: Blake Zastawrny 1 0-0 3, DeAndre Green 2 0-0 4, Derek Cheasman 0 1-2 1, Justin Horton 1 0-0 2, Connor Englert 3 4-5 11, Keeghan Savoir 2 0-0 5, Cameron Huber 9 4-5 25, Jamie Carman 2 0-0 6. Totals: 20 9-12 57. WELLSVILLE: Alec Acampora 8 2-4 23, Max Jusianiec 4 0-0 10, Aiden Cook 1 3-5 5, Joe Tronetti 5 2-2 16, Jimmy McKinley 2 1-2 5, Colin Cook 7 0-0 14. Totals: 27 8-12 73. 3-point goals: Way-Co 8 (Huber 3, Carman 2, Englert, Savoir), Wellsville 11 (Acampora 5, Tronetti 4, Jusianiec 2). Total Fouls: Way-Co 14, Wellsville 16. Fouled out: None.