“It was going to be a war down here,” Decker said following Wellsville’s 43-39 victory Tuesday in Pomona. “It does not matter about records. It does not matter about who is playing.
“That is why we like to have them on the schedule. It builds character. They always play hard. They are well coached. It is going to be a battle no matter what. They know what we do and we know what they do. There was no surprises.”
It came down to a final shot that rimmed out. West Franklin senior Matt Gray’s turn around jumper missed the mark with a few seconds remaining with Wellsville up 41-39.
“There at the end we could not get a shot to fall to push it into overtime,” West Franklin coach James Spencer said.
It was an intense battle between rivals. In the first half, West Franklin imposed its will on the Eagles. The second half, it was the opposite.
“The first half we controlled the game,” Spencer said. “Offensively, we were crisp, cutting hard and screening well. They could not play their aggressive man because if they did they would leave layups open.”
West Franklin led 25-19 at halftime.
“We played well enough to win. I will take them on the road against a inter-county rival any day of the week. We will probably see these guys again in sub-state. It was a hard-fought game.”
Spencer said the Falcons got out of their game plan in the second half. West Franklin scored just 14 points in the second half.
“In the second half, we did not execute as well,” Spencer said. “That let them have a run. We are not going to go one-on-one against them. We battled back.”
Decker credited the seniors for keeping things in perspective.
“We are senior-led,” he said. “The seniors took over the last two huddles. They pulled together. We did what we had to do. We are real fortunate to get a win.”
Spencer said the Falcons need to take their first half performance and build on it.
“When the ball was moving and not sticking, we were getting good looks,” Spencer said. “We were not forcing things.”
Carter Mann led Wellsville (2-0) with 17 points. Gray and Will Duda paced a balanced West Franklin (1-1) attack with nine each.
Wellsville (43) — Mann 17, Breithaupt 2, Meyer 6, Kearney 7, Silsby 5, Klamm 6.
West Franklin (39) — Gray 9, Duda 9, Altic 8, Rogers 5, Lacey 4, Homer 4.