The Wellington Wolves fourth-grade basketball team recently competed in the AAU Division 2 national basketball championship held in Charlotte, N.C. A total of 37 teams competed. The local 10-year-old boys finished second in the country.
Five of the players on the team started competing in national championships starting in the second grade.
The tournament began June 15 with the boys defeating one of the hometown teams, Metrolina Havoc, by a score of 62-14. Christopher Walker scored 19 points to lead the way, while Makye Boles scored 9, blocked six shots and grabbed 8 rebounds.
The next day, Wellington had another big game by outscoring the Classics from South Carolina by a score of 60-17. Walker again scored 19 points to lead the way. William Van Hook hit for 11, and Xaiver Henry contributed 9 points.
On Wednesday, the Wellington team continued their winning ways by overpowering Central Carolina 62-14. Isaiah Novil had 13 points to lead the way, followed by Corey Thomas with 10.
In the first three games, no one on the team played more than half of the game. In all three games, the Wellington boys averaged over 42 percent from the floor.
On Thursday, the competition got harder. The CU All Stars out of the Potomac Valley fell to Wellington 40-35. Walker had 14 points to pace the team.
On Friday, the boys played two games. In the first game, they defeated the TJ Lakers out of the D.C. area by a score of 32-25. Novil led the way with 12 points, but it was Hayden Eugene who came off the bench to score 5 points in less than 30 seconds to provide the spark that the Wolves needed.
Another team from the Potomac Valley, DMV Elite, became the team’s second victim, as Wellington won 54-41. Walker had 20 points, while Donovan Draper and Taylor each had 9 points.
This set the stage for the finals on Saturday against the Philadelphia Legends. It was a nip-and-tuck game with the score tied 20-20 at halftime and 28-28 going into the fourth quarter. Wellington scored two straight 3-point shots to take the lead 36-30 with two minutes left in the game. However, Philadelphia forced turnovers to take the lead and won in the last minute, 44-38.
Wellington finished with a record of 42 wins and 17 losses. Some of those losses came when the team decided to play as a fifth-grade team against stronger opposition.
Two other teams in the Wellington Travel Basketball Association finished the season on a high note. The third-grade team won the southeast regional championship and the fifth-grade team finished fifth in the country in their age group.
The WTBA has teams from third to 11th grades. Prospective players are welcome to try out for teams in their respective age groups. Information about the teams and tryouts can be obtained by calling Chris Fratella, league president, at (561) 252-9530.
ABOVE: The Wellington Wolves fourth-graders with their second-place trophy.