Wellsville boys take down Hornell in Barkley Showcase matchup
ALFRED — The Wellsville Lions were dominant on both ends of the floor Friday night in order to grab a 71-38 win over the Hornell Red Raiders in the annual Dan Barkley Showcase held at Alfred State College Friday night in Alfred.
Four different Lions reached double-figure scoring numbers, led by senior Joe Tronetti, who finished with a game-high 13 points and was the named the Player of the Game.
Wellsville was in complete control in the opening minutes of play thanks largely to Tronetti. The Lions defense was absolutely impenetrable early on, and on the other end, Tronetti was locked in. The senior opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers and then buried a pair of free throws as he scored the first eight points of the game.
“We talked about it before the game, we just needed to come out firing, which is what we did. We came out, got an early lead and just never let it go,” said Tronetti.
Jimmy McKinley hit a free throw to make it a 9-0 lead, and then Max Jusianec threw down a fast break dunk as Wellsville took the commanding 11-0 lead.
“I told the guys in the first half and second half that the first part was going to be everything. If you come out soft and complacent, then that sets the tone for the game. We came out very tough on defense, and that was the key. If buckets fall, that’s great, but that is sometimes uncontrollable. But when you start out not giving up a bucket for four or five minutes, that really builds the confidence,” said Wellsville head coach Raymie Auman.
Hornell finally got on the board late in the first when Chase Freeland made a pair from the line, but the score held at 11-2 in Wellsville’s favor after the first.
Hornell began to cut into the lead early in the second, but each time the deficit was cut, the Lions responded with a few highlight plays to increase the lead. Freeland hit a 3-pointer, but then Wellsville’s Danny Reed responded with his own triple. Hornell got to the free throw line for easy points, but then Jusianec buried a three and made a gorgeous pass through the paint for layup.
Then in the final minute of the half, Alec Acampora buried one last 3-pointer and Colin Cook made a last second layup, as the Lions lead grew to a commanding 28-14 at the halftime break.
After the intermission, the Lions came out of the locker room and continued to build the lead. Wellsville’s man-to-man defense caused fits for the Raiders, and on the other end, the Lions used their rare combination of skill and length to pass the ball through the zone for several wide-open buckets.
“The length you can’t control. If I could put length in everyone, I would. But the continuity and cohesiveness and the passing comes from how much these kids have played. They’ve been together since before I got to Wellsville, and that’s where they get to know how to find this backdoor cuts and little passes. They learned it in 5th and 6th grade, and as a coach, you just kind of go with what they do,” said Auman. “It makes things a lot easier for me when guys move. And it’s great to see when they have the energy and find the open spot.”
“We’ve been playing since we were six years old, so we just seem to know where each other is at all times. We trust each other,” said Tronetti.
By the halfway point of the third, the lead had grown to a nearly insurmountable 40-18.
The rest of the quarter was a relatively even affair, but even in the final seconds, the Lions proved that the night belonged to them when McKinley tipped in a putback at the buzzer to make it a 47-26 game going into the fourth.
In the final stanza, both teams were sure to use all of their benches in order to get every player some floor time on the college hardwood. When the final buzzer, the Wellsville Lions had earned their second win over the Red Raiders in the season with a 71-38 final.
Wellsville was led by Tronetti’s 13 points, but Alec Acampora, Max Jusianec and Aiden Cook all added 12 points in the win. The Lions (8-4) now heads to Class A Franklin on Monday evening at 6 p.m.
“They are experienced and our inexperience definitely showed. They are a great rebounding team and one of our weaknesses is defensive rebounding. It has been all season long. And when you run up against a team that is that long and athletic, it causes problems,” said HHS coach Kirk Scholes. “I thought we stayed the course and got better as the game went on, but this was just a great learning experience for us.”
Hornell was led by Vinny Liberto, who finished with a team-high 12 points. Hornell (8-3) now heads to Wayland-Cohocton for an important LCAA matchup on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“I think this experience will be really important because it puts us in the atmosphere of having a lot of people in the gym with a lot of noise. We just need to stay together through all of it, and tonight it just took us a while to get adjusted to it,” said Liberto.
Hornell 2 12 12 12 – 38
Wellsville 11 17 19 24 – 71
HORNELL: Chase Freeland 1 2-2 5, Conor Smith 2 0-2 4, Tommy Pieklo 1 0-0 3, Jackson White 2 0-1 4, Vinny Liberto 3 6-7 12, Collin Busch 0 0-2 0, Conner O’Rourke 1 0-0 3, Ethan Nichols 0 1-2 1, Timmy Smith 3 0-0 6. Totals: 13 9-16 38.
WELLSVILLE: Alec Acampora 5 0-0 12, Max Jusianiec 5 0-0 12, Aiden Cook 6 0-2 12, Seth Sexton 1 0-0 3, Gage Caldwell 0 1-2 1, Joe Tronetti 3 4-4 13, Jimmy McKinley 1 1-2 3, Danny Reed 1 0-0 3, Colin Cook 1 0-0 2. Totals: 23 6-10 71.
3-point goals: Hornell 3 (Freeland, Pieklo, O’Rourke), Wellsville 9 (Tronetti 3, Acampora 2, Jusianiec 2, Sexton, Reed). Total Fouls: Hornell 13, Wellsville 10. Fouled out: None.