WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – Last year, Wellsville used its speed to dominate Springfield in a near 30-point victory. This time was a lot different however, as Springfield was in the game until the final buzzer on Tuesday.
Shane Eynon had a great 3-point look that didn’t fall as Wellsville won its eighth straight game, 61-58. Wellsville improves to 14-2 while Springfield falls to 12-4.
Springfield charged out to a 7-0 run to start the game.
Jake Ford and Frank Centofanti pressured Wellsville by driving the ball inside on offense. Ford finished with a game high 27 points, five rebounds and two assists. Centofanti had seven points and six boards. Brendon Walters had key rebounds down the stretch as he finished with 10 points and four rebounds.
The key to Springfield’s success was getting Justin Miller and Michael Shope in foul trouble early. Miller was held to 15 points, four rebounds and four assists. Shope contributed with 13 points and seven boards. Wellsville had a 28-27 lead heading into halftime.
“We need to shoot better,” Miller said. “I feel like this stretch of games has been some of our worst. We need to start playing better for the tournament. I need to not swat at shots and foul. We will get better as a unit once we get our help defense going.”
The game was back and forth for all 32 minutes of play.
Springfield took a 47-46 lead heading into the forth quarter. The final period provided high drama as Springfield increased its lead to 55-48 with 4:50 left in the contest.
Brandon Patterson fouled out midway through the quarter. Michael Shope scored six straight points to trim the Springfield lead to one with just under two minutes left.
Wellsville managed to not let Springfield score another field goal in the final 4:50 of regulation. Branzen Grodhaus made two free throws with under a minute left to play to help Wellsville take the lead 60-58. Grodhaus finished with 12 points and eight boards. Justin Miller made one out of his final two free throws to increase the lead to 61-58.
Scott finished with 10 points, 3 assists, and 5 rebounds.
“We had to make some defensive stops to win the game,” Scott said. “Ford kept penetrating and we wanted to keep them in check so they couldn’t tie the game.”
Ford drove the ball to the basket and was met and blocked by Branzen Grodhaus with 12 seconds left. Springfield was pressured again as it retained possession with two seconds remaining. Shane Eynon pulled up from 3-point range and the ball hit off the rim and missed.
“This felt like a playoff game,” Springfield head coach Eric Fender said. “I was very pleased on how we competed the whole time. We wanted to key in on Miller and let their other guys beat us. Wellsville provides a lot of challenges because they spread the floor with deep shooting. I am very pleased with all of my seniors because they always play hard and never complain.”
Wellsville head coach David “Bug” Thompson had high praise for his opponent too.
“They really slowed us down,” he said. “Springfield is a well-coached team and they force you to make adjustments. We need to be ready to make adjustments at any point in the tournament. We worked on help defense all week and we still need to improve on that. Leetonia will probably have a similar game plan, so we need to penetrate and kick so the offense can spread out and we can play at the pace we want to.”
Wellsville is on the road Friday at Leetonia, while Springfield hosts United next Tuesday.