BY GENE NARDI
Last weekend, the Wellington High School basketball squad participated in the Palm Beach Shootout at Atlantic Christian Academy and won the championship crown in the final match against district rival Palm Beach Gardens High School, 71-44.
Other teams that competed in the tournament were Coral Glades, Forest Hill, Atlantic and Boynton Beach high schools, Atlantic Christian Academy and the Benjamin School.
The No. 4 Wolverines (11-2, 5-0) first faced the Benjamin School, and got off to a slow start but eventually pulled away with a convincing 76-48 victory. Illinois commit Trent Frazier had 35 points and 11 rebounds for Wellington.
With the win against the Bucks, it moved Wellington into a match-up with Boynton Beach. The Tigers went toe-to-toe with the Wolverines, but Boynton Beach could not contain the Wellington duo of Frazier and Sage Chen-Young. Frazier totaled 34 points, and Chen-Young put up 19 for Wellington.
That win pushed Wellington into the finals against district foe Palm Beach Gardens, whom the Wolverines defeated earlier in the season 70-34. The Gators challenged Wellington early, by dropping in three 3-pointers early in the first period to keep it close at the end of the first, 16-11. The Wolverines began to roll, with little resistance from the Palm Beach Gardens defense, and went into the locker room at the half with a 41-20 lead.
Like many teams this season, the Gators had difficulty containing the Frazier and Chen-Young attack. The Gators were laser-focused on containing the duo, which gave Wellington guard Miguel Peart the opportunity to shine. Peart put up 14 points, grabbed four rebounds, one steal and hit 100 percent from the free-throw line. Nico Toledo was also on board with eight points, three defensive rebounds and two assists.
“We got better as a team, and we’re sharing the ball,” Wellington coach Matt Colin said. “Nico had a great tournament. He shot the ball really well and made really good decisions.”
The Wolverines continued their momentum into the second half and proved to be too much for the Gators to handle, putting up 30 more points. Defensively, Wellington held Palm Beach Gardens to just 24 points in the second half.
The 71-44 win earned the Wolverines the tournament championship and keeps their district record unblemished at 5-0 on the season with an overall record of 11-2. Wellington participated in the Miami Slam this week, but results were not available by press time.
ABOVE: The Wellington High School basketball team with the Palm Beach Shootout championship trophy.