Green Hornet boys win 17th straight

IOANNIS PASHAKIS/ Sun-Gazette
Owen Kiess, 2, of Montoursville makes a pass to a teammate with Andrew Brelo, 23, of Wellsboro closing in Monday at Montoursville.

IOANNIS PASHAKIS/ Sun-Gazette Owen Kiess, 2, of Montoursville makes a pass to a teammate with Andrew Brelo, 23, of Wellsboro closing in Monday at Montoursville.

The second-quarter’s first possession told the entire story. Wellsboro missed three straight shots and Brandyn Tuttle grabbed three straight offensive rebounds.

Eventually, Wellsboro earned a free-throw trip. Tuttle never rested before or after that sequence. He has not rested all season. And this relentless player put on a rebounding clinic Monday night at Montoursville, carrying his team to another win.

Tuttle pulled down 20 rebounds, including 11 offensive boards, while adding 14 points as Wellsboro defeated Montoursville, 39-29 and won its 17th straight game. Tuttle outrebounded Montoursville (10-5) by himself and on a night when the Green Hornets struggled mightily from the field, his fantastic rebounding made the difference.

“I just always try to work hard as much as I can. Coach always says to just go after it and go 100 percent,” Tuttle said. “We needed the boards in clutch times. That’s what I do. I do the dirty work.”

He does it so well, too.

Tuttle leads the area in rebounding, averaging 11.6 per game, and recorded his area-high 13th double-double in a big game against a District 4 Class AAAA title contender. Wellsboro (18-1) made just 11 field goals and shot 33 percent, but it did not matter. The defense was outstanding and Tuttle consistently kept possessions alive. He recorded his 10th rebound midway through the second quarter and had nine offensive rebounds by halftime as Wellsboro took an 18-9 lead.

While Wellsboro missed shots, Tuttle consistently was there to clean things up. If that did not lead to baskets, it often led to free throw attempts and the Hornets scored 16 points there. Tuttle is 6-foot-4 and sometimes gives up inches inside. He rarely gives up anything else. Tuttle complements his work ethic with fantastic positioning. He boxes out well, he reads the ball well and if his hands touch the ball, he does not let go.

Put it all together and Tuttle has become one of the most valuable players on one of the area’s best teams a year after not cracking the starting rotation.

“Positioning and moving without the ball is everything,” Tuttle said. “My dad and I worked with that for a while to where you just have to constantly move to get around your guy and it’s 100 percent heart and you just have to go for it at all times.”

“He’s just a monster on the boards. He has such a nose for the ball and he hustles,” Wellsboro coach Todd Outman said. “To be able to rebound the way he rebounds without having a great vertical is pretty impressive. He uses his body very, very well. He’s got that knack for the ball. He’s shown it all season. He’s an outstanding rebounder.”

Tuttle recorded a double-double within the third-quarter’s first minute as Wellsboro took an 11-point lead. Montoursville cut it to four late in the quarter but the Hornets pushed it to 12 with three minutes in the game. Montoursville made only nine field goals, including just two 2-pointers, but it fought back as Owen Kiess tried willing it to a win.

Kiess started draining NBA-range 3-pointers like they were layups, making three straight and helping Montoursville cut it to 32-26 with 2:18 left. Kiess finished with a game-high 17 points and connected on all but three of Montours­ville’s nine field goals.

“Kiess is playing tremendous,” Montoursville coach Mike Mussina said. “He leaves it all out there and we just couldn’t get him any help tonight.”

Montoursville held Wellsboro to its second-lowest point total this season, but endured an 8-minute scoreless streak between the first and second quarters when the Hornets built a 10-point lead. The Warriors lost their second straight game following a six-game winning streak. Austin Loe grabbed six rebounds and blocked shots while Tyler Reidy added three blocks and two steals.

The Warriors forced eight third-quarter turnovers but were unable to capitalize during that time. Montoursville outscored Wellsboro in the third quarter, but it was just 7-4 and the Hornets still led by six entering the fourth.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing for all the kids. They’re the ones out there busting their rears out there and busting their rears at practice,” Mussina said. “We have to keep fighting and keep trying to make adjustments and try to get them to believe the next one is going to be better. I tell them when we lose or even when we win, you can evaluate tonight what could I have done better? You can be upset and disappointed and all that tonight, but when you wake up tomorrow it’s time to move on to the next thing. That’s what sports are about.”

Wellsboro is romping its way toward another NTL championship and is again a District 4 Class AAA title contender. Sometimes overlooked in their success is the way the Hornets play defense. Wellsboro held Montoursville to its fewest points and rarely gave up quality looks. The Hornets closed out well on shooters, harassed ball-handlers and often held Montoursville to one-and-done possessions.

It was the eighth time this season that Wellsboro held a team to fewer than 30 points. After Andrew Brelo threw a pretty assist to Collin Pietropola in transition to make it 34-26, the Hornets put the game away at the foul line in the last two minutes. Dalton Prough (15 points) scored 11 in the fourth quarter when Wellsboro went 11 for 15 at the line.

“The one thing that is a constant with these group of guys is we play defense,” Outman said. “We talk about the fact that you’re going to have bad nights shooting, but they never give up on defense and that keeps us in games.”

WELLSBORO (39)

Brandyn Tuttle 4 6-9 14, Dalton Prough 4 7-8 15, Quinn Henry 2 1-2 6, Collin Pietropola 1 0-2 2, Andrew Brelo 0 0-0 0, Nic Ingerick 0 1-2 1, Holden Kennedy 0 1-2 1, Tanner Button 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 16-25 39.

MONTOURSVILLE (29)

John McCarthy 1 3-4 5, Owen Kiess 6 0-0 17, Luke Warnecke 0 2-2 2, Dylan Bower 1 1-3 3, Tyler Reidy 0 0-0 0, Austin Loe 1 0-0 2, Colin Lachemeyer 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 6-9 29.

Wellsboro 12 6 4 17–39

Montoursville 6 3 7 13–29

3-pointers: Wellsboro 1 (Henry); Montoursville 5 (Kiess 5).

Records: Wellsboro 18-1. Montoursville 10-5.

JV Score: Montoursville 63-32.

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