Hornell narrowly holds off Wayland-Cohocton
Hornell gets it done in final minute to defeat Way-Co
HORNELL — The Hornell Red Raiders won a narrow back-and-forth affair on Tuesday evening as they escaped with a 55-51 home win over Wayland-Cohocton in Hornell.
The defense came through in the final moments of play, and Gennaro Picco buried a huge 3-pointer with only one minute left in the game in order to give the Red Raiders the slim win.
“I feel like we are just getting out of here with a win. We didn’t play overly well, and we’ve got a lot of work to do on both ends of the floor. We had way too many turnovers tonight, we’ve got to rebound better, and we just have to have more energy. Being on break can’t be an excuse, we just have to be mentally prepared,” said Scholes. “We got one day off before we play a good LeRoy team, and it’s going to be a challenge. I’m looking forward now to just seeing if they respond at practice and if we can go to LeRoy and be ready to play.”
Each offense struggled in the opening few minutes to find gaps in the defense and convert into points. Way-Co took the slim lead in the first minute of play, but Hornell quickly got the lead in the following minute. That back-and-forth action continued through the early parts of the first quarter, and the score was tied 9-9 after four minutes of play.
Over the final four minutes, the defenses were in total control. Hornell’s 2-3 zone began to extend way out past the 3-point line and applied a ton of pressure to the Way-Co ballhandlers. By the end of the second quarter, that resulted in some easy transition points for Hornell off of the turnovers. HHS grabbed a 13-9 lead late, but the Eagles buried a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to cut the lead to 13-12. HHS got a few final trips to the line in the final minute, and it helped them take the 16-12 lead after one.
In the second period, Hornell came out and quickly carried over the momentum from the end of the first. The Raiders drove hard to the hoop, getting both easy layups and trips to the free throw line. Then Dylan Harwood buried a deep shot from behind the 3-point line in order to push the HHS lead to 21-12 just one minute into the second. Jackson White followed that up with a steal and a layup, giving HHS the 23-12 lead and forcing an early Way-Co timeout.
The Golden Eagles used the timeout to quickly regroup, and then dominated the next few minutes of play in order to eliminate the Hornell lead. Way-Co got a few quick buckets inside the paint, and then when Justin Schwab and Brogan Cotter hit back-to-back 3-pointers, the Eagles were able to take back a 24-23 lead on a 12-0 run with just one minute to play in the first half.
But AJ Hoyt broke up the run with a 3-pointer of his own and then Jonas Sciotti hit a late free throw in order to give HHS the narrow 27-24 lead at the intermission.
After the halftime break, both offenses came out and quickly got to work. The pace picked up significantly as each team looked to generate some easy fast break chances. The teams traded buckets in the early minutes of the third quarter and it resulted in Hornell’s lead holding steady at 33-28 halfway through the frame. Then when Hornell got two quick buckets just after the halfway point of the quarter, it pushed the lead out to 38-28 and forced another Way-Co timeout.
Once again, Way-Co used the timeout to regroup and refocus, and started to focus their offense back inside the paint. The Golden Eagles got a few transition buckets thanks to some strong defensive pressure, drove the ball into the lane and hit a 3-pointer in order to quickly cut the lead back down to just 43-42 after the third quarter of play.
Hornell slowly worked their lead back out to four points in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, but Way-Co quickly responded in order to eliminate the lead. Then Cotter made a brilliant baseline spin move for a layup that gave Way-Co the 50-49 lead with just 3:30 left in the game.
The defenses kept the game at that score for the next minute, and then Justin Schwab knocked down a free throw in order to make it a 51-49 game with just under two minutes left to play.
Hornell’s defense then made some huge stops over the next minute in order to keep the contest at a one-score game, and then with just over one minute left, Gennaro Picco buried the shot that would ultimately lead to the win.
Jackson White came off of a pick and roll hard and worked his way into the paint. As he drew several defenders, he saw Picco all alone in the corner and kicked the ball out. Picco lined up his shot and buried the clutch 3-pointer that gave HHS the 52-51 lead with just under a minute to play.
The HHS defense made another big stop on the next possession, and then the Red Raiders buried a few free throws in order to escape with the 55-51 home win.
“In those last few minutes, I thought we finally locked in on defense. It was nice to see us get some key stops in some key moments, but we have to get better at that end of the floor. And I don’t know if it has always been a focus with some of these kids to play well on the defensive side of the ball, but we have to realize that defense is going to carry us in a lot of these games,” said Scholes.
Jackson White led the way offensively with a game-high 21 points on nine made field goals.
“I’ve been preaching to him to play downhill and not settle for shots. He’s a better basketball player when he is aggressive and attacking the rim. I thought tonight he was more aggressive going to basket, and he could have gone to the line a few more times if he had gotten a few more calls. Even that last play we drew up, he made the right play. I told him to read the defense, and if you can’t get all the way to the rim, then just make the right play, and he did,” said Scholes. “For the last few years, he’s had teammates that could do some of those things for him. But now, he has to step into that role where he creates for others, because he has that ability. These are things that he is capable of doing, and he’s got to keep doing them.”
Gennaro Picco added 16 points to the win with three 3-point buckets. Dylan Harwood also finished with seven points to aid the victory.
Wayland-Cohocton was led by Cotter’s 15 points and Schwab’s 14 points in the loss.
HHS (2-1) now hits the road on Thursday evening with a trip to LeRoy at 7:30 p.m. Wayland-Cohocton (0-2) now returns home on Thursday evening for a 7 p.m. game against visiting Letchworth.