The Royal Palm Beach High School boys varsity basketball team held off a determined Wellington High School team on Thursday, Dec. 20. The Wildcats defeated the Wolverines 58-49 at home in front of a packed gymnasium. The much-anticipated match did not disappoint local fans.
The two teams tipped off slowly on offensive early in the game, combining for just 20 points, despite Wellington (6-2) jumping out to a 4-0 lead. The Wildcats (7-2) clawed right back to claim the lead 6-5 and eventually closed out the first period leading 11-9.
A three-pointer from De’Andre Morris in the second period extended the Royal Palm Beach lead to 19-12, and also produced some momentum for the more experienced Wildcat squad. Wellington was outscored 19-7 through the second period by a tactically sound Royal Palm Beach crew, heading off to the locker room with a 30-16 halftime lead for the home team.
The Wolverines’ ability to outscore Royal Palm Beach in the third period was not enough to snuff out an early third period surge by the Wildcats. Royal Palm Beach put six points on the board within the first minute of play to extend the Wildcat lead to 36-16. It looked as if the steam was siphoned from the Wellington squad as miscues plagued the offense.
Linton Brown was the shining light in the Wolverines’ hopes to close the margin, putting up eight points in the third period. By the end of the period, Wellington had closed to within nine points, but were still down 40-31. The rally put the Wildcats on alert.
The Wildcats did enough in the final period, matching the Wellington score and mirroring 18 points. A three-point basket by John Dieujuste helped maintain the Royal Palm Beach momentum. Wellington could not sustain periodic surges they put together and were forced to play catch-up in the final minutes against a stubborn Wildcat squad. Royal Palm Beach was able to secure the 58-49 win.
Morris totaled 16 points on the night for the Wildcats with two three-point baskets. Brown was the top scorer for Wellington with 18 points. Myles Samuels hit double on three-point baskets for the Wolverines.