Updated Thu, Feb 20, 2014 2:53 am
After Nelsonville-York’s sectional semifinal win against Crooksville, it was time to transition back to the regular season for one final game against conference rival Wellston.
In more of a “trap game,” in the words of coach Jay Kline, the Buckeyes came out victorious Wednesday night 66-55 over the Golden Rockets.
Although both teams played their starters for a majority of the game, the atmosphere wasn’t one of a regular season contest.
Nelsonville-York, led by senior Josh Fayette, distributed the ball well and was spreading the wealth, as four N-Y players reached double digits.
Early in the third, the Buckeyes built a 13-point lead. However, that would be short-lived, as the Golden Rockets would go on a 14-2 run to cut N-Y’s lead down to one with a little more than two minutes left in the third.
Sparking that run and most of Wellston’s offense tonight was sophomore Justin Rafferty. He was a standout for the Golden Rockets as he finished the night with 15 points, shooting 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.
After Wellston’s run, Fayette composed the troops during a timeout and as soon as the Buckeyes left the huddle, they went on a 9-2 run to end the third.
As a team, the Buckeyes shot 43 percent from the field, outrebounded Wellston 30-22 and forced 12 Golden Rocket turnovers. Also, the Buckeyes refused to trail during the game.
However, Kline and the Buckeyes weren’t so pleased with the outcome.
“I’m leaving here thinking that we didn’t play as well as we could have, so we’ll look at this and say we can’t play like this on Friday, but we’re happy because we’re leaving Wellston with a win,” Kline said.
“We’re going to have to play a lot better,” senior Cannon Kilbarger said. “We didn’t play like a championship team tonight.”
The Buckeyes never let their lead drop lower than six in the fourth quarter and held off Wellston for their thirteenth win of the regular season.
One thing the Buckeyes still have to work on going forward is free throws.
On Monday night in their tournament game against the Crooksville Ceramics, the Buckeyes shot 50 percent, going 9 of 18 from the line. In tonight’s game, the Buckeyes shot 61 percent as a team, shooting 14 of 23 from the line.
Sophomore Forrest Hale of the Golden Rockets finished off the night with nine points and five rebounds.
Fayette, for the Buckeyes, finished with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists. Adding to the win was Kilbarger who had a double-double, totaling 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Nelsonville-York will travel to Jackson High School on Friday to take on the Dawson-Bryant Hornets in the sectional finals of the Division III tournament.