Ridge rallies past Tussey Mountain

NEW PARIS – Trailing by five points in the third quarter with Tussey Mountain on the verge of pulling away, Chestnut Ridge needed a spark. The Lions got it from JD Weyant.

The senior forward, who has averaged 3.2 points a game in the early going, ripped off 11 of Ridge’s next 13 points to give the Lions a lead they would not relinquish in a 61-58 win over Tussey Mountain.

Weyant finished with 19 points, 17 of them coming in the second half.

“JD Weyant went on a real nice stretch. He did a great job,” Ridge coach Randy Meck said. “I’ve been very disappointed with the way we’ve been playing. I couldn’t be more proud of our entire team, from the first guy on the floor to the last guy cheering on the bench.”

Weyant’s hot streak all came on close-range buckets either driving to the basket or getting putbacks. Twice Jordan Crist found him inside for layups.

Ridge took a 53-49 lead to the fourth quarter and built a 58-50 lead midway through the final period when Tyler Wiley found Weyant open underneath the basket for a layup.

Tussey pulled to within one point, 59-58, on a Mike Mitchell jump shot from the elbow with 18 seconds left. After Wiley sank a pair of free throws, Mitchell missed a long 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have tied the game had it gone in.

“We had not timeouts left and took a bad shot with 10 seconds to go,” Tussey coach Dave Bailey said. “You can’t be caught without a timeout at the end of the game. I learned that early on. That’s on me.”

Luke Zelanko turned in a strong game with 23 points and 16 rebounds. The senior forward had a double-double by halftime with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

“Luke Zelanko’s an animal,” Meck said. “He’s a tough player to slow down. We did a better job of getting a body on him in the second half.”

Tussey sophomore Parker Cornelius drained five 3-pointers on his way to 17 points. His trey from the top of key made it one-possession game with a minute to play. He then stole a Ridge inbounds pass that led to Mitchell’s bucket that made it one-point game.

Matt Wiley nearly matched Zelanko on the boards with 14 rebounds. Ridge also got a handful of rebounds from Matt Monko, Luke Stultz, Weyant and Crist.

“[Matt Wiley] and [Monko] beat us up pretty good inside,” Bailey said. “We’re pretty young. They’re pretty thick. Chestnut Ridge deserved to win. They outscrapped and outhustled us to loose balls. That’s a credit to Mecky.”

Ridge also held Mitchell in check. The junior guard scored just five points, 12 under his season average.

“We mixed up a few gimmick defenses throughout the game,” Meck said. “We wanted to slow down Mike Mitchell and rebound the basketball. We have enough to size to give a lot of teams trouble. We just have to rebound the ball on a regular basis.”

The win evens the Lions record at 3-3. The team has been without leading scorer and rebounder in 6-foot-5 Beau Bosch to a wrist injury in the second game of the season. Ridge was also without 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Jay Grubb.

The Titans suffered their first loss of the season, falling to 3-1. Tussey’s also missing a pair of starters in Kyle Kline and Koty Taylor-Chadwick, both of whom were injured during football season.

TUSSEY MOUNTAIN (58): Sitch 1 0-0 3, Cornelius 6 0-0 17, Mitchell 2 0-0 5, Bithell 0 1-2 1, Zelanko 11 1-6 23, Donelson 0 0-0 0, Black 0 0-0 0, Leonard 0 0-0 0. Totals – 23 2-8 58.

CHESTNUT RIDGE (61): T. Wiley 3 5-6 13, Stultz 2 0-0 5, Crist 4 1-2 10, M. Wiley 3 2-6 8, Monko 1 4-5 6, Weyant 9 1-1 19, Hengst 0 0-0 0. Totals – 22 13-22 61.


Tussey Mountain13 18 18 9 – 58

Chestnut Ridge15 13 25 8 – 61

3-point goals: Tussey Mountain 10 (Cornelius 5, Black 3, Sitch, Mitchell); Chestnut Ridge 4 (T. Wiley 2, Stultz, Crist).

Records: Tussey Mountain (3-1); Chestnut Ridge (3-3).

JV: 42-32, Chestnut Ridge. High scorers-Leonard 14 (TM), Monko 19 (CR).