WELLSVILLE — A free throw with 2.5 seconds left was the difference.
Thanks to a clutch foul-line shot from Demi Aamold, sophomore, the Wellsville High School girls basketball team is in the winner’s bracket of its home tournament. The Lady Eagles edged Lansing 57-56 Tuesday in the Top Gun Tournament opening round.
The win sets up the Lady Eagles for a 6:45 p.m. Thursday semifinal matchup with undefeated, top-seeded Baldwin at WHS, 602 Walnut St., Wellsville.
With 40 seconds left in Tuesday’s game, Lansing’s Gerenda Smith, junior, missed a shot and Wellsville’s Aubrey Ball, sophomore, snatched the rebound. Up 55-54, the Lady Eagles ran time off the clock before Madie McCoy, sophomore, was fouled with 18 seconds left. McCoy hit 1-2 free throws to make it 56-54.
On the Lady Lions’ ensuing possession, Smith got a shot and a foul under the basket with nine seconds left. Her free throw was off, and Ball was again there to snag the board with 7.8 seconds left.
Wellsville called a timeout with the score tied 56-56, and got the ball to Aamold on the ensuing inbound. While fighting her way up the court, Aamold was fouled unintentionally and sent to the line with 2.5 seconds left. Her first free throw rolled in, sending cheers from the home crowd throughout Kermit Deterding Gymnasium. Her second was off, and a long shot from Lansing at the buzzer was well off.
“I was just worried — two of our starters were fouled out — so if we went into overtime, it would have been a lot tougher,” Aamold said of her final foul shots.
“It means everything,” she said of the win. “Last year we lost [to Lansing], and it was a close game as well. It was a good win and we all did our part.”
Wellsville trailed 28-23 at halftime, but came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Lions 19-15. The third period was capped off by a three-point basket by McCoy that gave WHS a 42-41 lead.
“Defensively we stepped up,” Brock Campbell, WHS head girls basketball coach, said of his team’s second half effort. “Offensivley, I thought we were more patient. We got better shot selection.”
Aamold paced Wellsville with 15 points. Sydney Dwyer, senior, and Paige McDaniel, junior, had 14 points apiece, and McCoy finished with 10 points.
Lansing was led by Smith who led all scorers with 16 points.
Wellsville (57) — Aamold 15, Dwyer 14, McDaneil 14, McCoy 10, Ball 2, Showalter 2.
Lansing (56) — Smith 16, Jessup 15, Ernzen 11, Gatson 10, Farris 2, Schneider 2.