LEETONIA - Leetonia senior forward Cody Stokes has a unique shooting style which garners some interesting comments from teammates and coaches.
None of them are complaining about the results though.
Pouring in 34 points with nine rebounds, Stokes led the Bears to a key Inter-Tri County League lower tier victory, 84-78, over Wellsville on Friday.
Twelve of Stokes' points came from beyond the three-point arc where he showcased his non-jumping shot. He also turns his one foot sideways while doing this.
"Teammates call me twinkle foot because of how I turn my foot sideways," Stokes said.
Stokes said they've also been known to play the song "Stanky Leg" by the hip-hop group GS Boyz in teasing fashion when he's around.
"It's definitely unorthodox, but the ball goes in," Leetonia coach Mark Taylor said. "I'm not going to mess with it."
The Bears are 3-1 and 1-1 in the ITCL lower tier. After a league opening loss to Southern Local, Taylor said the team needed this to get back on track.
"December is probably the most important month," Taylor said. "This is when you develop confidence and continuity. If you start losing early people might not buy into what you're doing or believe in it."
The Bears picked up their first league win of the season by going all out against the Tigers. The game was played at break-neck speed right out of the gate. A total of 54 points by both teams were scored in the opening quarter.
"We were down 14 or 16 points early to Southern the other night, so coach put us in the press right away to try to get us going," Stokes said.
Offensively the plan worked very well. Senior guard Nick Altomare dictated a lot of the up tempo action and ended up with 21 points and three steals.
"He's the one that makes them go," Wellsville coach David Thompson said.
Brandon Dattilio added 13 points for the Bears, while Ian Sevenich had 11 points off the bench.
The two teams played an even first half as no team established any sort of consistent rhythm. Leetonia broke the stalemate a bit in the third quarter opening up a seven point lead at one point. The Tigers (3-2, 1-2) had the lead down to three by the end of the third quarter, but Leetonia's more experienced players picked up the slack and helped the team pull away down the stretch.
"We wanted the up tempo game, but we wanted to play some defense too," Thompson said. "They just beat us off the dribble too much."
Thompson said concentration was a problem, but he said that the Tigers' league fate is not in jeopardy yet.
"It's hard to say how the league will go," Thompson said. "The league champion could have four losses this year. It's wide open."
Jordan Sloan had 20 points and five assists to lead the Tigers. Josh Carter was sharp on the boards with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Leetonia will have another challenge on their hands today when they host Western Reserve.
"I'm a little worried about it, but these are 16, 17 and 18-year old kids," Taylor said. "Hopefully they can come out tomorrow and give 110 percent."
Wellsville is at Lowellville on Tuesday.
Wellsville won the jayvee game 86-43. Tim Thrasher had 19 points and Jansen Stoakes added 17 points for the Tigers. Trent Ferry had 22 points for Leetonia.
- A Wellsville fan was ejected from the game for verbally abusing the officials with 1:25 left in the third quarter.
LEETONIA: 27-18-23-16 -84
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Camden Douglas 3-0-9, Nate Scott 4-2-12, Seth Bradford 5-0-10, Jordan Sloan 8-3-20, Tim Thrasher 3-0-6, Sam McIntosh 1-0-2, Josh Carter 9-1-19. TEAM TOTALS: 33-73, 6-8: 78.
LEETONIA SCORING: Nick Altomare 5-9-21, Brandon Dattilio 4-3-13, Cody Stokes 13-4-34, Cody Valentine 2-1-5, Zack Van Giesen 0-0-0, Ian Sevenich 4-0-11m Alex Maltbie 0-0-0, Josh Van Giesen 0-0-0, Ian Stecker 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 28-54, 17-25: 84.
Three-point goals: Wellsville 6-20 (Douglas 3, Scott 2, Sloan), Leetonia 11 (Stokes 4, Sevenich 3, Altomare 2, Dattilio 2).