GREENFORD - It's no secret that Wellsville relies on senior guard Mikyla Tipton for the majority of its offensive output.
In tournaments, though, sometimes you some extra help.
The Tigers got that in the second half on Monday in a Div. IV sectional opener against Columbiana as Irene Kiser hit a huge three with 3:35 to play to spark her team to a 34-28 win.
From the middle of the third quarter onward, it was a see-saw battle in which the lead was swapped six times. Right before Kiser's three, the game was tied at 28.
"My head was clear," Kiser said. "I tend to make them if I'm not thinking of anything. It looked ugly when it was going up, but it went in. After I made it, I was like 'Wow, that was a big three'."
Wellsville's defense also stepped up down the stretch, holding the Clippers to no points the rest of the way. Courtney Cook's lone basket of the game with 1:35 to play put the lead at five and just out of touch for the Clippers to make a run at it.
"(Kiser's) shot was a big shot for her and for the team," Swogger said. "We know that Mikyla is the one making things happen out there and she makes teams adjust to her. When that happens we have to have someone else step up."
Tipton finished with a team-high 10 points and eight rebounds. All but two of her points came in the first half. In the second half, it was a smattering of different players who got the Tigers going. Shartece Taylor tallied all of her seven points in the last 16 minutes, while Amanda Coles had two big buckets in the third quarter.
Wellsville (11-10) advances to meet Lisbon at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the sectional final. The two teams did not scrimmage each other nor play during the regular season.
Columbiana (6-15) looked to be in prime position in the second quarter as the Clippers built a 19-12 lead at one point. Wellsville's coach said he knew that was going to be the best run the Clippers would have all night.
"It seems like we have a quarter or part of a quarter where things just don't go as planned," Swogger said. "We got through that rough spot though. I told the girls at halftime, I thought we took their best punch in the second quarter."
Columbiana was led by Khylea Fullum's 17 points and eight rebounds.
"This is about how our year has been going," Columbiana coach Jeff Hammond said. "We played solid defense and held them to 34 points, but we go through stretches where we have trouble scoring. It's not a lack of effort. It's just some missed layups and shots that didn't go our way. It's the game of basketball, I guess."
Megan Cutlip added nine rebounds, five steals and three assists for the Clippers, who lost five straight to close the season.
As for the match-up with Lisbon, the Tigers are itching to keep their recent run of good results going.
"We wrote our goals down at the beginning of the year and a sectional championship was one of those," Kiser said. "It's been 12 years since Wellsville has won one."
- Fullum broke the school's single season rebound record during the game. She now has 220 which is three better than Irene Coy's total of 217 in the 2009-2010 season.
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Irene Kiser 2-0-5, Shartece Taylor 3-1-7, Mikyla Tipton 4-2-10, Amanda Coles 2-0-4, Kalee Powell 2-2-6, Courtney Cook 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 14-44, 5-10: 34.
COLUMBIANA SCORING: Lindsey Roncone 0-0-0, Baylie Mook 2-0-4, Makenzie Logan 2-0-6, Megan Cutlip 0-1-1, Sami Stilson 0-0-0, Khylea Fullum 7-2-17, Brianna Gingher 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 11-45, 3-8: 28.
THREE POINTERS: Wellsville 1 (Kiser), Columbiana 2 (Logan, Fullum).