The Wellington High School boys basketball team maintained perfection Friday, Feb. 2 with a 65-58 win over local rival Palm Beach Central High School. The win extended the Wolverines’ season-long winning streak, making their record 22-0, but the victory did not come without a second-half scare at the hands of the Broncos (16-8).
Host Palm Beach Central outscored Wellington in the second half 34-17, but the Wolverines had a commanding first-half performance that carried them through and did just enough to hold on in the final moments.
“I think we just relaxed after having a big lead; we were up by 21 at the half,” Wellington coach Matt Colin said. “I told them the other team is going to compete. They’re coached just like you guys are coached, and that’s the way we would do it, too.”
Wellington’s first 12 points of the thriller all came from three-point baskets. Linton Brown and Jonathan Philistin each had one, and Bryan Williams accounted for a pair. Will Vanhook dropped in a three-pointer for the Broncos, and early in the first period took a 4-3 lead, but Wellington quickly clawed back and stole the lead 12-7 in minutes.
During the first period, Bronco Geneus Gyvicht became the team’s all-time leading scorer with 1,284 career points, making school history. “I’m really happy for Gyvicht,” Palm Beach Central coach Jason Pitman said. “It is a tremendous accomplishment that shows his dedication.”
By the conclusion of the first half, the Wolverines were able to seal a 45-24 advantage.
The Broncos were able to find momentum in the second half and challenge Wellington often, chewing into the margin, closing to within five points, but could not retake the lead.
“It was a great crowd,” Pitman said. “I’m glad the crowd got to see the real Central basketball team. We have had a great season and are looking forward to the district tournament. I was happy for [Gyvicht] to break the record in front of maybe our largest crowd ever at Central.”
The Wolverines played better defense in the closing minute of the game and did just enough to secure the 65-58 win. The teams probably will face each other in the district tournament as the top two seeds. The Wolverines lead the series this season 2-0.
“Credit to them for not giving up and battling,” Colin said of the Broncos. “We were fortunate enough to win.”
Top performers for the Wolverines were Williams and Brown, both with 17 points. Philistin put up 14 points, and Nicholas Toledo had 12 points. For the Broncos, Tre Jackson led the pack with 18 points, Drew Potter had 12 points and Gyvicht totaled 11 points.