TORONTO - A night of celebration off the court at George J. Kunzler Memorial Gymnasium turned into something ugly on it Saturday night when Toronto hosted Wellsville.
And it had nothing to do with the Tigers' 73-56 victory.
On "Lights Out Knight" in Toronto, commemorating the final game in the Red Knights old gym before a new one is constructed with the new Toronto High School for next season, 14 players were ejected - nine Red Knights and five Tigers - for leaving the bench during an on court altercation between the two teams.
LAST GAME — Toronto’s Brad Melville looks for an open teammate over the defense of Wellsville’s Nate Scott during the Red Knights’ 73-56 loss to the Tigers Saturday at George J. Kunzler Memorial Gymnasium.
"The effort was good if we could have kept the commotion down we would have been a lot better off," said Wellsville head coach Dave Thompson. "We come to Toronto, it's a big rivalry, and they're going to play hard in the last game in their building.
"We're just lucky to get out of here with a victory to tell you the truth."
During a jump ball situation tempers flared on the court between the members of each team. A Toronto student was escorted from the gym for running out on the court during the incident, but none of the players involved were sent off.
Wellsville 73, Toronto 56
Wellsville 15 24 16 18 - 73
Toronto 19 10 17 10 - 56
WELLSVILLE: Douglas 5 4-4 14, Scott 11 5-5 31, Fultz 2 0-0 4, Bradford 4 0-0 9, Carr 3 0-0 7, Sloan 2 4-5 8. TOTALS: 27 13-14 73. 3-pointers: Scott (4), Bradford, Carr.
TORONTO: Glenn 6 0-0 12, Chadwick 4 2-2 10, Owens 4 0-0 10, Melville 4 2-3 12, Gault 5 1-3 12. TOTALS: 23 5-8 56. 3-pointers: Owens (2), Melville (2), Gault.
Unfortunately for both teams their entire benches stepped onto the court and were automatically ejected, meaning they are all suspended for the next two games.
"I'm very surprised," said Toronto head coach John Leary. "I'm not convinced every one of our guys came off the bench, but that group of officials is a veteran group, and they are good officials.
"I'll take their word for it."
Making things worse is that both teams are set to begin sectional play next week.
"You've got five guys, you've got to play five guys, bring some J.V. guys up, and hope you can get through it," said Thompson.
Added Leary, "The only thing that might save us, or give us one, is we had a young man get hurt in the J.V. game, and he wasn't here. We'll possibly have Riley Keirsey off the bench against Malvern if he's not hurt."
During the game Toronto took a 19-15 advantage after one quarter before Wellsville rolled to a 24-10 advantage in the second quarter to make the game 39-29 at intermission.
The Red Knights kept within striking distance, sitting within nine at 55-46 after three, but the Tigers pulled away with an 18-10 advantage in the fourth to make the final 73-56.
The Tigers were led by Nate Scott's 31-point effort. Camden Douglas score 14 in support.
The Red Knights had five players in double figures - Brad Melville, Dillon Gault, and Blaze Glenn each scored 12 with Joey Chadwick and Tyler Owens adding 10 a piece.
Thompson stated he believed Scott, Douglas, Jordan Sloan, Brendan Carr, and Seth Bradford are the five that are eligible to play in Wellsville's upcoming sectional opener, but he had to watch the film to verify.
Toronto will have all five starters - Melville, Gault, Chadwick, Owens, and Glenn - for its sectional game against Malvern Wednesday at 6 p.m. in New Philadelphia.
"It sounds nasty to say this, but there's been a lot of games this year where we played iron man basketball," said Leary. "We played five guys and that's been it. If it ever it was going to pay off, it's not something we haven't done. It's just now it's going to be something in the back of our mind. There's no margin for error.
"We can't get in foul trouble and things of that nature. I said if we were a team that did a lot of subbing, and we played with a deep bench I think it would affect us. Maybe that's an advantage we have over Malvern. I'll look at it that way."