BY GENE NARDI
On Wednesday, Dec. 2, the Wellington High School boys basketball team hosted rival Royal Palm Beach High School and defeated the Wildcats 65-47 in front of a capacity crowd.
Both teams entered the season ranked in the county’s top 10, with Wellington at third and Royal Palm Beach holding down the No. 9 position, but the defending Class 8A state champion Wolverines proved too much to handle for the Wildcats. Trent Frazier tallied 26 points and six assists to help power the Wolverines.
Wellington (4-1) jumped out to a 16-8 first-period lead, taking advantage of early opportunities. The Wildcats (4-2) clawed back in the second period, racking up 14 points with the help of Jules Jasmine. He led a rally that would inch the Wildcats within six points of the Wellington lead, 26-20, with less than two minutes to play in the first half, but Royal Palm Beach could never steal the lead. Wellington eventually secured an eight-point advantage going into the half at 30-22.
Making some adjustments, Royal Palm Beach found some momentum in the third period, coming within one point of tying the Wolverines, 35-34. Wellington’s defense buckled down, and held the Wildcats to just three more points over the rest of the period, and extended the team’s lead with a late rally to make it 44-37 entering the final period.
Dominating defense under the net and aggressive offense from the Wolverines in the final period deflated any threat of a Royal Palm Beach comeback. Alex Dieudonne had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to help lift the Wolverines in the second half. Jamal Richard and Leonard Thorpe made a valiant effort to rally the Wildcats, combining for six points and a three-pointer, but it was not enough to overcome the Wellington squad.
Frazier also recorded four three-pointers, and Sage Chen-Young tallied eight points for the Wolverines. Jasmine recorded 13 points and Thorpe totaled 10 points for the Wildcats.
Wellington extended its win streak by defeating Seminole Ridge High School 65-27 on Friday, Dec. 4, and the Wildcats defeated West Boca High School 68-54.
The Wolverines played Glades Central and Boca Raton high schools this week, while Royal Palm Beach played games against Olympic Heights and Boynton Beach high schools, but results were not available by press time.
ABOVE: Royal Palm Beach’s Jamal Richard tries to reel in the rebound as Wellington’s Lester Gates reaches out.