WELLSTON — The memories from last year’s game against Alexander kept Wellston’s Cyan Ervin up at night sometimes.
Alexander’s Kyler D’Augustino sank a jumper at the buzzer to give the Spartans the win.
It drove Ervin to go to the gym late at night to get shots up, ensuring that when Wellston got the chance for revenge this year, he and his teammates would be prepared.
“My and Kyler are really good friends, and he’s an incredible player,” Ervin said. “But I hate losing to him, so I’d been waiting for this game to happen.”
This time was different. Friday was Ervin and the Golden Rockets chance for revenge, and it wasn’t going to let the moment go to waste.
The junior guard provided all the energy need as he finished with a season-high 29 points and five rebounds, leading the Golden Rockets to a 71-50 victory over Alexander in TVC action.
“We come out really sharp, aggressive and stuck to our gameplan,” Wellston coach Robert Fouty said. “Our execution was great. I’d admire (Alexander) Coach (Jeff) Skinner a lot, and I thought our kids did a great job of adjusting to whatever adjustments Alexander made.”
Wellston was determined to keep the ball out of D’Augustino’s hands with a series of double teams and face guarding throughout the night.
He still managed to score 20 points, but his impact overall was very limited.
“There are so many things he does that make him the player he is,” Fouty said. “We mainly focused on playing him tight, taking away his three-point shot and making him pass the ball. We sent extra help anytime he crossed half court and Cyan did a great job guarding him as well when it was just a 1-on-1 situation.”
On the other side, Wellston’s Evan Brown set the early tone with four points, three rebounds and a pair of assists to put it ahead 10-4.
Then Garrett Brown led the way end the frame to keep it ahead 17-9.
“Energy played a huge part in this one. This was the most energy we’ve played with all season so far,” Evan Brown said. “We had to keep that for the whole game and just continue to execute.”
It was Ervin’s time to take over in the second, and he took his aggression alongside level of energy to another level.
Getting to his spots against man-to-man defense, he barreled his way to basket and connected from the charity stripe as well. He finished the game with 11 of Wellston’s 16 points as the Golden Rockets owned a 33-17 lead at halftime.
“On offense, we know as a team who we are and it came down to us just continuing to move the ball and take advantage of the mismatches,” Ervin said. “The energy from our bench and the crowd just kept us going, and we wanted this win.”
The fouls began to rack up, which slowed the game down a little bit and gave Alexander a small window to climb back in the game.
Though Wellston maintained a lead, what started as a 33-17 lead was trimmed down to 45-35 thanks in part to 12 points behind D’Augustino as the Spartans began to apply some pressure.
“There are times we go too fast and we get a little careless with the ball, which is something we’ll have to get better with,” Evan Brown said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we want to keep improving and focusing on those little details like slowing down will help us out later this season.”
However, the Golden Rockets answered right back with an 8-0 run to push the lead right back up. Then Michael Schober banked in a 27-footer at the buzzer, which ultimately sealed the deal on a victory.
“The one thing is for us is that we’re finally back to being completely healthy,” Fouty said. “It started a little rough with Cyan being out, but we’ve found a good rhythm since he’s returned and guys were also a little banged up from football. But our practices over the past couple weeks have been intense and guys are getting after it, which is showing on the floor every night.”
Following Ervin’s night, Evan Brown finished with 17 points and seven rebounds while Garrett Brown added 13 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Wellston returns to action on Tuesday in TVC action at Nelsonville-York.