BY GENE NARDI
On Thursday, Feb. 16, the Wellington High School boys basketball team looked impressive in its 78-53 win over District 10-9A runner-up Atlantic High School. The win allowed the Wolverines to advance in the regional tournament, while the loss for the Eagles sent them home, ending their season.
Wellington (25-3) went on a 16-point run to start the game, and denied an Atlantic score for the first two minutes of play. It appeared the Wolverines would roll, but the Eagles settled down and began to chip away at the Wellington lead. The four-time district champion Wolverines continued to score as Atlantic trailed steadily, ending the first period 26-15.
Wellington never surrendered the lead through the contest, and eventually built an 18-point gap in the second period, behind standouts Trent Frazier and Sage Chen-Young. The duo combined for 40 points on the evening. The Eagles did manage to muster enough offense to come within 11 as the first half concluded with the Wolverines up 42-31.
“We got off to a fast start, and we were able to give ourselves a little cushion,” Wellington head coach Matt Colin said.
The large margin for the Wolverines allowed them to survive an Atlantic defensive stand early in the second half, but they eventually were able to put up 20 points later in the third period to secure the lead.
Wellington had an accurate night of shooting from Frazier, Nico Toledo and Bryan Williams, who put up nine points, all three-pointers. Toledo was two-for-two on three-pointers. The accuracy lifted the Wolverines’ momentum at the end of the third period, which sparked a stingy defense to allow only six Eagle points in the fourth period.
“We wanted to keep our man defense a little tighter because they kept beating us on the dribble, driving,” Colin said.
Wellington possessed the ball effectively in the final period, enabling them to lock in the 78-53 victory.
“Anfernee Rosario did a good job; he had a tough job against taller guys,” Colin said. “He did a great job boxing out and rebounding.”
Rosario added momentum for his team ending the first half when he hit for two at the buzzer off a pass from Toledo. “That was huge and a big momentum changer for us,” Colin said.
Frazier totaled 26 points, with nine rebounds. Chen-Young had 14 points and six rebounds. Toledo put up 11 points and was devastating from the outside for the Wolverines. Miguel Pert also had nine points for Wellington.
ABOVE: Wellington’s Trent Frazier controls the ball and tries to get around an Atlantic defender.