MIDDLETOWN, Pa- The last time these two teams met, Wells upended Penn State Harrisburg by three points in an overtime squeaker that ended the Lions 2010-2011 season in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championship game.
Penn State Harrisburg returned the favor when the hosts downed the visiting Express in a similar three-point squeaker on Saturday, Jan. 14. The blue and white scored first and never relinquished the lead on their way to a 69-66 victory.
Things were close early on but a Kenton Alston (Harrisburg, PA/Steel-High) block led to a Jordan Gatchell (Manheim, PA/Manheim Central) three-ball on the other end that put the home team up 9-3 at the 16:38 mark. Another three-pointer, this time from Alberto De Los Santos (Enola, PA/East Pennsboro), with 9:37 left in the half gave the Lions their biggest lead of the afternoon at 26-14.
But Wells wouldn't quit and a late free throw by Dave Foltz (Auburn, NY/Auburn) cut the lead to six as the first half came to an end.
After the break, the Lions used back-to-back layups from Will Doyle (Franklin, VA/Tidewater Academy) and Amani Glenn (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin East) to stretch the advantage back to ten just a minute into the second stanza.
A pair of free throws from Gatchell gave Penn State Harrisburg its second 12-point advantage of the contest ten minutes later. With 9:16 remaining in the game, things seemed to be well in hand.
But like all good teams do, the Express made a run. Trailing 68-60 with just 2:25 remaining, Wells used a clutch 6-1 run to make it a one possession game with seven seconds remaining on the clock. Terry Harrison (Brooklyn, NY/Forest Hills) forced a crucial turnover deep in the blue and white backcourt with five ticks left but the Lions played enough defense to keep any Express player from getting off a three-point attempt before the buzzer sounded.
Glenn was the standout offensively. The freshman scored a game-high 19 points, including three buckets from beyond the arc. Steve Jones (Harrisburg, PA/Harrisburg) netted 16 points to go along with his seven rebounds. Despite early foul trouble, the nation's steals per game leader picked Wells' pocket five times.
Gatchell dropped 12 on Wells and grabbed seven boards. He also dished out five assists, as did Doyle. De Los Santos was the fourth Lion to hit double digits with 11. Although he only scored five points, Alston played a key role in the contest, grabbing a team-high eight rebounds, dishing out a game-high seven assists and blocking four Express shots.
The Lions improved to 11-3 with the win and most importantly, stayed undefeated in conference play. Penn State Harrisburg is 4-0 against NEAC competition and sits alone atop the South Division standings.
The blue and white welcome another conference foe to town on Sunday, Jan. 15. The Lions play host to Keuka in tomorrow's divisional crossover matchup.