Wolverines show signs of progress
Ambridge (54) Vs. Ellwood City (43)
Jan 15, 2008

Jason Bumblis deconstructed the Ellwood City Lincoln High boys basketball program when he became coach this season.

He went back to fundamentals, and for the most part, taught the Wolverines how to play the game his way .

And even though Ellwood City lost again, 54-43 to Ambridge at home in WPIAL Section 2-AAA play last night, Bumblis is finally seeing improvement.

In December, the Bridgers torched Ellwood City (0-8 section, 3-14 overall) with a full-court press and a half court trap. So Bumblis knew it was coming this time and had his players prepared.

With point guard Mike Sacco able to break the pressure early in the game, it allowed Chris Weisz and Anthony Washington to get wide open three-pointers as the Wolverines built a 19-12 lead.

“(Bumblis) had a great game plan,” Ambridge coach Bill Minear said. “They were so prepared for the press and played well most of the game against it.”

The Bridgers (4-4, 7-10) had marked size advantage, especially with 6-foot-5 Bob Gaiton (12 points, five rebounds, three blocks) and burly guard Travis Anderson (14 points, all from drives to the hoop or free throws).

To counter that, Ellwood City relied mainly on outside shooting. Of its 15 field goals, seven were threes.

With Ambridge struggling to find a groove in the third quarter, the Wolverines chipped away, and trailed 30-29 after Anthony Sainato’s 3-pointer from the corner.

“I honestly felt we had a shot at the upset tonight,” Bumblis said, moments after congratulating his team on its effort.

Sainato hit another three to make it 44-40 with 4:20 left in the game (with Bumblis letting out a resounding “Yes!” from the bench).

But it would be the Wolverines last basket of the night. The Bridgers, who were playing for a playoff spot — not improvement, took over from there.

The press started to cause turnovers and Gaiton scored the next six points to make it 50-40 with 2:25 left.

Ambridge is in fourth place in the section and would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Hopewell (7-1) leads with Blackhawk and Montour (both 6-2) tied for second. Ellwood City remains in last place.

Weisz led the Wolverines with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Washington had eight points and Chaz Roth added seven.

Despite being significantly smaller at every position, Ellwood City was only outrebounded 25-22.

“Hey, I can’t fault the effort; they played hard,” Bumblis said. “We just don’t do the little things very good yet.”

With no seniors on the team and steady improvement, Bumblis said there are good things on the horizon.

“Every day we build and build, he said, “until we punch enough holes to get through that dam.”
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Ambridge 12 15 11 16 0 54
Ellwood City 16 8 9 10 0 43
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
Ellwood City
#4 Anthony Washington300280
#23 Chris Weisz4323130
#31 Ross McDevitt210040
#5 Chaz Roth253070
#12 Mike Sacco231050
#24 Anthony Sainato210260
#22 Mike Meehan000000
#25 Travis Woodbridge000000
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