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Seneca Street Zoo hosts part two in basketball battle between Hornell and Wellsville (story, photos)

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STORY BY CHRIS BROOKS, photos by JC’s PHOTOGRAPHY

HORNELL — Friday night was the night. The Lion’s Den against the Seneca Street Zoo. Part Two.

The most prominent rivalry in the surrounding area was renewed one final time in the Maple City, when Wellsville and Hornell met for their second and final clash of the campaign — their first meeting since their thrilling instant classic-esque finish in the Dan Barkley Showcase’s Sheriff Classic back in mid-January at Alfred State.

With the Red Raiders looking to officially put a bow on Class B1’s number one seed for Sectionals, and the Lions aiming to build momentum and maneuver through a tough Class B2 field, something between the two longtime archrivals had to most certainly give at the end of the night.

After a high octane opening quarter between both teams, the pendulum would begin to shift in one direction. In the midst of what was a fiery offensive night, the Red Raiders supplied the gasoline and lit the fire from all angles of the floor, especially from outside where they knocked down 12 big three-pointers — seven of them off the hand of Aaron McInerney that helped set a massive tone across the second quarter and into the second half, as Hornell knocked off Wellsville one last time with a 70-53 home win.

The excitement for Hornell will continue Monday night at home when Hornell hosts the #1 seed in Class C2, York at 7 p.m. Hornell is #1 in Class B1. That game will end the regular season.

In the midst of a back-and-forth exchange across the opening quarter, Wellsville was able to jump out first with an early 13-9 lead of Hornell with time beginning to dwindle away off the clock. But despite the pressure against them, the Red Raiders were able to respond with a much larger jaunt, scoring nine of the frame’s last 11 points to claim an 18-15 lead led by four big three-pointers — one of them coming with 30 seconds left off the hand of Marco Picco.

With the lead over the Lions now in hand, Hornell was in a prime position to begin assembling what was a massive 21-9 run of their opposition behind benefactions from six different Red Raiders to push the lead out to 14 at the break.

It would ultimately set the tone going into a second half where the Red Raiders ensured their lead would remain intact, as they pieced together another strong offensive outburst, despite Wellsville chipping away with their largest stand of attack, to claim a lead that would reach as big as 22 at one point.

Behind his seven three-pointers, McInerney would assume the role of Hornell’s leading scorer at the end of the night, scoring a game-high 22 points. Gennaro Picco was right behind him, netting 19 points of his own, while Wyatt Evingham had eight to add in.

Wellsville was paced by a strong offensive presence inside from Ty Vogel, as he bucketed a team-high 18 points. JJ Howard chipped in with 12 points, including a one-handed jam during the first half, while Alex Green recorded eight points.

Hornell is 16-3 and the #1 seed in Class B1 in a class where almost all the teams are under .500 with #2 Mynderse at 11-8 and #3 World of Inquiry at 8-11.

The Lions will now await Sectional play in the Class B2 field beginning in two week’s time after putting a wrap to their regular season with a record of 7-13 overall. Wellsville is currently the #7 seed. Avon is #1 at 19-1.

Wellsville 15 9 18 11 – 53

Hornell 18 21 23 8 – 70

WELLSVILLE: Aiden Cowburn 1 0-0 2, Karson Grover 2 1-2 5, Cooper Brockway 1 0-0 3, JJ Howard 3 6-10 12, Ty Vogel 8 1-1 18, Trenton Green 2 0-0 5, Alex Green 4 0-0 8. Totals: 21 8-13 53.

HORNELL: Gennaro Picco 8 2-2 19, Quinn Mauro 1 0-0 3, Marco Picco 2 0-0 5, Xzaiver Patrick 3 0-0 6, PJ Picco 3 0-3 7, Aaron McInerney 7 1-1 22, Wyatt Evingham 2 3-4 8. Totals: 26 6-10 70.

3-point goals: Wellsville 3 (Brockway, Vogel, T. Green), Hornell 12 (McInerney 7, G. Picco, Mauro, M. Picco, PJ Picco, Evingham).
Total Fouls: Wellsville 11, Hornell 7. Fouled out: None.

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