Toronto boys hang on to EOAC victory

TORONTO — The Toronto boys basketball team withstood the Wellsville attack.

The Red Knights answered the Tigers’ fourth-quarter charge with one of their own, holding on for a 76-68 victory Tuesday night in an Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference matchup inside the George J. Gunzler Memorial Gymnasium.

Toronto led by 10 points entering the fourth quarter, but Wellsville cut its deficit to four points before the Red Knights responded and pushed their lead out to 11 points.

“This is one of the ones where you survive and advance,” Toronto coach Sean Tucker said. “We got lucky tonight. After the game, (Wellsville coach David) Bug (Thompson) said, ‘We almost stole one,’ and they did. We were not in a good mindset tonight, and that totally falls on me. During timeouts, we told the kids what not to do, and they went out and did the opposite. We were not mentally focused. That’s on me.

“We have the opportunity to go home with a win. We will learn from our mistakes. I have got a lot of respect for Bug and his program and his coaches. They only play five kids, but they are all scrappy. They outplayed us tonight. We came out on top of the scoreboard because we were able to finish a couple of buckets in the fourth quarter.”

Wellsville pulled within 61-57 a few minutes into the fourth, but the Tigers ran out of gas down the stretch and were unable to complete the comeback.

“We don’t have any depth,” Thompson said. “We play five guys, but those five guys played well.

“Coach Tucker does a great job. When you come down here, you know it is going to be a physical game and you are going to have to battle. We told the kids that. We just didn’t get any breaks tonight. We would go on a run, and then they would hit a couple of 3s. We would get a steal, and they would come down and hit a 3. Coach Tucker has done a hell of a job since he has come here.”

Five players scored in double digits to lead way for the Red Knights. Nate Karaffa finished with a team-high 19 points, Lucas Gulczynski tallied 17 and Nick Sninchak contributed 14. Also, A.J. Clegg and Trillion West each collected 11.

Three players scored in double figures for Wellsville. Justin Wright recorded a game-high 21 points, Darrien Suggs delivered 20 and Derrick Suggs scored 12.

The Red Knights led 53-43 entering the fourth quarter, but a basket by Wright pulled the Tigers to within 55-51. Toronto answered with a 7-0 spurt to go up 62-51. Wellsville fought back and pulled to within 70-65 with 53.2 seconds left, but that is as close as the Tigers got the rest of the way.

“We did not do a good job protecting the ball on rebounds,” Tucker said. “We had a lot of difficulty with that. We saw in the scouting report they like to smack at the ball, and we did not do a good job protecting the ball on rebounds. We did not do a good job with our transition defense. That falls on me and not the kids. I have to do a better job of having the kids ready to play basketball. I think they took some things for granted. I told them they only play five kids, and I think they took that for granted. I have to do a better job of preparing them to play basketball.”

Darrien Suggs played a strong all-around game for the Tigers as the junior dished out five assists and had three steals to go along with his 20 points. Also for the Tigers, Derrick Suggs pulled down seven rebounds and dished out four assists, while Green grabbed eight rebounds.

“Lucas Gulczynski saved us,” Tucker said. “Trent Wright also played extremely well. They battled down low. They did what we needed them to do. We will go back and look at the film, but Lucas had to have had a double-double with all of his rebounds and putbacks.”

Both teams play games Friday night against EOAC opponents. Toronto travels north to take on United, while Wellsville plays at home against Leetonia.

GAME NOTES

≤ Wellsvile won the JV game, 22-20. Levi Boley led the way with seven points for the Tigers. Caleb Leasure tallied a game-high nine points to lead the way for the Red Knights. The game lasted only two quarters.

Toronto 76, Wellsville 68

Wellsville 9-19-15-25 — 68

Toronto 16-17-20-23 — 76

WELLSVILLE (0-2): Green 3 0-0 8; Da. Suggs 8 0-0 20; Scott 3 0-0 7; De. Suggs 4 3-3 12; Ramsey 0 0-0 0; Wright 10 0-2 21; Talbert 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 28, 3-5: 68.

TORONTO (2-0): West 5 0-0 11; Herrick 0 0-0 0; Karaffa 7 4-6 19; Wright 2 0-0 4; Matyas 0 0-0 0; Gulczynski 8 0-0 17; Clegg 4 3-4 11; Sninchak 5 0-1 14. TOTALS: 31, 7-11: 76.

3-POINT GOALS: Wellsville 9 (Da. Suggs 4; Green 2; Scott 1; De. Suggs 1; Wright 1); Toronto 7 (Sninchak 4; West 1; Karaffa 1; Gulczynski 1).

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