McDONALD - For most of the first quarter the McDonald Blue Devils played at a different level than the Wellsville Tigers.
Unfortunately, for Devils coach Jeff Rasile, it was a level that was below what was needed to have any chance of defeating the talented Tigers. The Devils eventually emerged from their sleep walk after falling behind by 14 points, but their rally fell short in a 76-72 loss Tuesday in an Inter-Tri-County League, Division II game.
"In the first 6 minutes of the first quarter our kids came out with a game plan, and our kids just came out and bombed the game plan right from the get-go, and it's so disappointing," Rasile said. "It's the little things that kill us. We're 8-3, and all three of those games we could have won. Not to say we deserved to win."
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
McDonald’s Jake Reckard, right, reaches in and steals the ball away from Wellsville’s Nate Scott during first-half action on Tuesday night.
The Devils (5-3 in the league) wouldn't have had a chance to win in the late stages if not for the play of senior Ken Greaver, who scored a game-high 30 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. The 6-foot-4 Greaver had his way inside as he was able to use his strength to muscle in shots.
"He didn't play like that the first game (we played them)," Tigers coach David Thompson said. "He was scoring at will. We tried doubling down, and he was still getting to the basket. He played an outstanding game."
The Devils had no answer for the balance shown by the Tigers (10-1 and 7-0 in the league). Nate Scott scored with ease in the first half, registering 18 of his 22 points. Camden Douglas flashed athleticism from end to end, including a slam dunk among his 18 points. Seth Bradford had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Jordan Sloan did plenty of damage to the Devils with nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
The biggest shot of the night was a 3-pointer by Bradford that broke a 71-71 tie. The Devils had just tied the game at the 2:25 mark of the fourth period on one free throw by Anthony Pugh. Thompson wasn't looking for a 3-point shot from Bradford, who had done most of his scoring near the basket.
"I didn't want to take that shot, but Seth is a shooter," Thompson said. "He's hit seven (3s) in a game before. You can't tell him not to shoot, but that's not the shot you want. I'd rather work the ball around and get a layup. He had a wide open 3. We always talk about it. If you're open, take the shot."
The Devils, who trailed 23-17 after one period and 43-34 at halftime, were behind 60-51 entering the final period. They began inching closer behind the play of Greaver, who scored 10 points in the quarter. Greaver had a run of six unanswered points that reduced the Tigers' lead to 67-66.
After Bradford's 3-pointer gave Wellsville a 74-71 advantage, Sloan missed a chance to extend the lead on a one-and-one attempt. Matt Seitz of McDonald was off the mark on a 3-point shot, but Douglas missed a one-and-one opportunity.
The Devils then turned over possession. Scott made two free throws to all but seal the decision.
Seitz finished with 18 points, and Pugh had 11 points. The Devils were 12-of-24 from the line.
"It was ours for the taking," Rasile said. "There was an eight-minute stretch in the second half when we absolutely owned them. Everything was going our way. You have to do the little things, and this group struggles with the little things."
McDonald hosts Mineral Ridge Friday.