The Wellington High School basketball team avenged an early-season loss to Palm Beach Central High School on Friday, Feb. 1, grabbing a 61-43 victory before a capacity crowd.
The Broncos bested the Wolverines earlier in the season for the first time in eight years, but the Wolverines this time played a more consistent game behind senior Linton Brown’s 25 points on the night.
“I thought, defensively, we did a great job,” Wellington coach Matt Colin said. “They really stuck together and made plays. It really made it difficult for them to score.”
Wellington (17-5) found themselves trailing 8-4 most of the first period. Both the Wolverines and Broncos played strong defense, but the Broncos (16-6) had the early advantage. With just over a minute remaining in the first period, the Wolverines were able to tie the game at 8-8 and eventually went up 12-8 in the final seconds to claim the lead.
Palm Beach Central was forced to call an early time-out in the second period as Wellington continued with momentum, leading 16-8. The short break was what the Broncos needed to rally to within two, 19-17. Wellington did just enough defensively, winning rebounds and forcing a couple of key turnovers, to let them head into the locker room with a 22-17 halftime lead.
The second half opened with both teams trying distance shots from the outside with little success. The Wolverines continued with strong defense, winning rebounds and converting into points on the inside under the rim. Wellington outscored the Broncos in the second half 39-26 to post the 61-43 victory. “We’re the top seed in the district, so we get a bye,” Colin added. “There are still some things we’ve got to work on and keep building and getting better. This team has really come together as they’ve played, the way they’ve shared the basketball.”
Both teams will close out the regular season with non-conference games this week and will prepare to enter post-season play. It is a possibility that fans may see another matchup between the two local rivals in the upcoming district tournament.
Wellington’s Brown had the game-high total of 25 points, and Alphonse Alfred recorded 21 points for the Broncos.