The two teams had a spirited battle Tuesday in the second game of the season in Wellsville. The Eagles turned the tables on the Falcons in a 60-52 victory.
“It is two teams that really wanted to beat the other,” West Franklin coach James Spencer said. “We play in the summer quite a bit. The kids know each other. It is a spirited game. It is tough to lose.”
Wellsville had some extra motivation this time.
“It is always a good battle,” Wellsville coach Thatcher Decker said. “Especially the way they came in here at the end of last year and embarrassed us. We were kind of waiting for this game.”
Decker said the Falcons also got the better of them during their summer league games.
“This is a big win for us,” Decker said. “It will get our feet under us.”
The two teams exchanged runs. Wellsville had the early one, scoring the first nine points.
“We got in foul trouble and had to sit some guys early,” he said.
West Franklin then used a 16-6 spurt to take an 18-17 lead with five minutes left in the first half.
“We came out hot and got up,” Decker said. “We got happy with ourselves.”
Wellsville closed the half on a 17-3 run to open a 34-21 lead. The run was fueled by three offensive rebounds and scores from Jacob Dalrymple.
The Falcons kept battling all second half, but the Eagles answered each time.
“The second half we played a lot better,” Spencer said. “We did not shoot the ball particularly well. When you are shooting and making baskets, it make you look a lot better. We did not execute our offense the way we will. They took us out of what we wanted to do.”
West Franklin went on a 12-4 spurt to pull within 53-49 with a minute remaining in the game.
“They have seniors,’ Decker said. “They are a good squad. They made a run on us. We got rattled a little bit. We got it back together.”
Wellsville hit seven of 10 from the line in the final minute to seal the victory.
Decker said it is nice to have his ball handlers be his top free throw shooters. Carter Mann, Shamus Kearney and Cole Silsby were a combined 13-of-15 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“My guys really battled,” Decker said. “We have guys playing out of position. Luke Meyer played great against a really good post player.
“He played two guard on junior varsity last year. Shane Hillman played one of the best offensive players we will see all year. We see Shane as a defensive stopper.”
Spencer said Wellsville’s quickness opened up the floor.
“They are quick and athletic,” Spencer said. “Defensively, we have stop penetration. We allowed them to the paint way too easily.”
Kearney paced the Eagles with 18 points. Mann tossed in 13 and Silsby had 10.
Owen Reed led the Falcons with 14 points. Clay Altic had 11 points. Will Duda finished with 10.
West Franklin (1-1) plays 7 p.m. Thursday at home against Oskaloosa.
Wellsville (2-0) plays 7 p.m. Thursday at home versus Valley Falls.
West Franklin (52) — Geist 9, Walters 1, Gray 7, Reed 14, Duda 10, Altic 11.
Wellsville (60) — Mann 13, Meyer 7, Hillman 6, Kearney 18, Silsby 10, Dalrymple 6.