Freshmen lead Red Knights to win over Wellsville

TORONTO — Freshmen Kendal Thomas and Maddie Anderson scored 15 and 10 points respectively to lead the Toronto Lady Red Knights to a convincing 60-25 win over Wellsville Monday night inside the George J. Kunzler Gymnasium.

It is Toronto’s fourth win in a row.

“We have definitely improved since the beginning of the season,” said second-year coach Rusty Hodgkiss, whose team defeated the Lady Tigers on Dec. 4 by 11 points. “That’s the third game in a row that we’ve scored over 60 points. We’ve been shooting the ball better the last two weeks or so.

“We’re real excited about our freshman group. They’ve improved throughout the season. When they started out, they looked like little girls playing against women. Now, they are competing with them.”

Wellsville opened the game with an 8-6 first quarter advantage, but things went downhill when the lone senior Menina Jackson got into some early foul trouble.

She incurred her third personal at the 2:31 mark of the second quarter and her fourth with 6:30 left in the third period. She finished the game and led her team with 10 points.

“As soon as our big girl got into foul trouble, we had to take her out and we lost our momentum scoring wise,” said veteran coach Ed Swogger, who has been coaching the Wellsville girls now for 18 years. “We’re so young with our freshman and sophomores that it is typical of us to have a lot of turnovers. With Jackson being the only upper classman, we’ve been a turnover machine this year.”

The Lady Tigers (2-19) had trouble with Toronto’s pressure defense and wound up turning the ball over 22 times.

“I have six freshman and six sophomores,” Swogger said. “We’re really a jayvee team playing a varsity schedule. You play the cards you’re dealt. This is pretty much how our season has been going although the first time we played them we were leading for part of the game and lost by only 11. I really didn’t expect what happened tonight, but we didn’t have the foul trouble in that game. When they take away where we score most, it shows and without Jackson in there we lose some continuity and that’s what happened tonight.”

By allowing Wellsville just two points in the second quarter, Hodgkiss’s club went up 25-10 at the break and then scored the first six points of the second half to go up by 21 points at 31-10. It improved the record to 8-14.

It was Senior Night for the Toronto club and Hodgkiss attributed the emotions of that as the reason the Lady Red Knights got off to a slow start. The four seniors recognized before the game are Samantha Swearingen, Sydney Taggart, Gina Fogle and Jenna Leasure.

“I think the emotions of honoring our four seniors caused us to get off to a slow start, but we kind of found our rhythm in the second quarter,” Hodgkiss said. “We began getting some turnovers and got some transition baskets.

“We knew we couldn’t handle Jackson one-on-one inside so our game plan going in was to make it a full court game and utilize our athleticism. We looked a little tentative in the first quarter with her in the middle. We didn’t seem to want to take it to her, but in the second quarter we began attacking the rim a little bit better.

“We’ve had games recently where we hold teams to low scores in a quarter like we did there in the second. Our emphasis here has been on defense. We work on defense 45 minutes every day. We think if we can get a stop, we have the athletes that can get out and run in transition.”

The Lady Red Knights now will have 10 days to prepare for sectional play at Shadyside on Feb. 22.

The Lady Tigers have a home game with another rival, Beaver Local, Wednesday at home and then travel to Lordstown for sectional play on Feb. 21.

GAME NOTES:

≤ The Wellsville jayvees won a thriller in overtime, 25-24, with Iliyah Barnes leading the way scoring eight points. Kenedy Cottrell paced the Toronto jayvees with 10 points.

≤ The game Monday night was a make-up game postponed by weather back on Jan. 8.

Toronto 60, Wellsville 25

Wellsville 8-2-10-5 — 25

Toronto 6-19-21-14 — 60

WELLSVILLE (2-19): Hawk 2 0-0 4; Weekley 1 3-3 5; Vinton 1 0-0 2; Dobitz 0 1-2 1; Carlevale 1 1-2 3; Exline 0 0-2 0; Jackson 5 0-0 10. TOTALS: 10 5-9 25. Rebounds: 29 (Jackson 9); Turnovers 22.

TORONTO (8-14): Thomas 5 2-2 15; Jordan 3 3-4 9; McDonald 1 1-2 3; Kinsey 3 0-0 7; Anderson 5 0-1 10; Yarosz 2 0-0 4; Taggart 0 0-2 0; Fogle 1 1-2 3; Leasure 3 3-4 9. TOTALS: 23 10-17 60. Three-pointers: 4 (Thomas 3, Kinsey); Rebounds: 33 (Anderson 7); Turnovers: 17.

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