WELLSVILLE - It's said that the most important parts of a story are the beginning and the end.
Nate Scott made a point of that.
With a late three-pointer - one of five scored for the night -Scott rallied the Tigers from an 11-point halftime deficit to topple McDonald 82-79 on Saturday.
Scott's game-winning three came with Wellsville trailing 79-77 late in the fourth quarter. With a defender's hand inches away from his face, Scott's final three-pointer of the game was the biggest, giving the Tigers a 80-79 lead with 14.4 seconds remaining.
"Coach said he had a play for us," Scott said. "I knew I had to make it at our home court."
From the beginning, Wellsville (6-0) used its home court for a major advantage. Scott ripped off 13 points in the first quarter, including four three-pointers, sending a horde of Wellsville supporters into a frenzy. The Tigers led after the first quarter 22-20.
In the second and third quarters, however, Scott went cold and the Blue Devils got hot. McDonald scored 21 in the second quarter, including a 15-3 run, while holding Wellsville to eight, building a 41-30 lead.
"(McDonald) dropped back into a zone and we quit attacking," Wellsville coach David Thompson said. "We settled for one pass, one shot."
After his 13-point outburst in the first, Scott scored just three points in the second and third quarters combined. Wellsville would got double-digit scoring from both Camden Douglas and Jordan Sloan to keep pace with the Blue Devils. Douglas finished with 18 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, while Sloan had 19 points and nine assists.
"That's what our offense is based off," Scott said. "We go fast break and they try to stop that, so we go back and shoot threes or drive to the hoop. Whatever is going for us, we go with."
Entering the fourth quarter with a 59-52 deficit, the Tigers went back to their primary weapon - Scott. The six-foot senior reignited for 16 points, spearheading a 30-point final frame for Wellsville. Scott finished with a game-high 32 points.
"We count on him to score," Thompson said. "He's been scoring all his life. We set that play up for him to come off his pick, and it worked. That sealed the deal."
Fresh off a exhilarating win, the Tigers will now play on the biggest stage of their careers - Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland - when they play Beaver Local on Monday.
McDonald was led by Matt Seitz with 25 points. Ken Greaver had 17 points for the Blue Devils, while Jake Reckard added 16.
The win firmly puts Wellsville at the top of the lower tier. Though one could argue that the Tigers escaped with a lucky win, Scott expects nothing less when opposing one of their biggest league rivals.
"McDonald's a good team," Scott said. "When we play them, it's not going to be a blowout. They're going to win one quarter, we're going to win the next. Good teams go on runs. We just have to have the last one."
WELLSVILLE: 22- 8-22-30-82
MCDONALD SCORING: Anthony Pugh 4-4-12, Zack Fedyski 0-0-0, Evan McGill 0-0-0, Jake Reckerd 6-4-16, Brad Woodley 3-3-9, Matt Howard 0-0-0, Ken Greaver 7-3-17, Matt Seitz 8-7-25. TOTALS: 28, 21-26: 79.
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Camden Douglas 6-4-18, Tyshawn Franklin 0-0-0, Nate Scott 10-7-32, Antonio Fultz 2-2-6, Seth Bradford 1-1-3, Brendon Carr 2-0-4, Jordan Sloan 7-1-19, Sam McIntosh 0-0-0. TOTALS: 28, 15-20: 82.
Three-point goals: McDonald 2 (Seitz), Wellsville 11 (Scott 5, Sloan 4, Douglas 2)