The easy win guaranteed the Dukes (16-2, 14-1) at least a share of the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division championship. A win at second place Keystone on Tuesday would give them the outright title.
“We’re not satisfied,” said guard Nathan Starkey, who finished with
17 points. “We know we have to take care of business Tuesday. Anything less than the outright championship would be a big disappointment.”
It was clear Friday that something less than a share of the crown was not to be considered.
After stumbling to a 12-10 deficit with eight turnovers after one quarter, the Dukes pulled themselves together in the second period, doubling the Cardinals’ output with 26 points.
Starkey and Brady Shaw with nine each and Jason Perry with seven accounted for all but one of Wellington’s points in the decisive quarter.
Meanwhile, Brookside (11-8, 8-7) was hampered by foul trouble as leading scorer Hunter Skolnicki and junior center Nathan Keith sat the bench during much of the period.
Brookside coach Brent Schremp saw the fouls as a determining facto in the gamer.
“In the first quarter we did some nice things,” he said. “But in the second we had some lineups we don’t normally have and they (the Dukes) were able to take full advantage. They were aggressive and shot the heck out of the basketball.”
A 12-0 Wellington run in the third quarter put the game away at 48-29 with 13 minutes still to play. As the Cardinals’ defense took more chances, the Dukes’ passing game took off. Perry had a number of assists, including a spectacular dish to Ethan Herman with three minutes left.
“Assists are just as important as points,” said Perry, who nonetheless finished with 16 points. “I’m always looking for the open teammate, but it was the big win tonight that was really awesome.”
Still, it was under the boards and beyond the arc where the Dukes really dominated, pulling down 43 rebounds to just 19 for the Cardinals and hitting 7 of 12 3-pointers to just one for Brookside.
That kind of performance, primarily over the last three quarters, made first-year Dukes coach Dan Gundert smile.
“You have to credit those guys in the locker room,” he said. “They went out and made the plays. I can’t speak highly enough of them. They give it their all every night. And we’re playing with confidence now.”
The Dukes will need that attitude tonight as they host seventh-ranked Norwayne in a non-conference makeup game and then head to Keystone on Tuesday.
“We’re not satisfied yet,” said Shaw, who also had 17 points. “Norwayne will be a good test for us and we’re looking to get back at Keystone for beating us in double overtime.”
Contact Jim Jablonski at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wellington 75, Brookside 52
WELLINGTON (75): Nathan Starkey 3-8-16, Freddy Senghas 0-0-0, Zac Gilbert 2-0-4, Brady Shaw 5-4-17, Jason Perry 6-4-17, Dylan Kidd 0-0-0, Ethan Herman 2-1-5, Nation Carroll 1-1-3, Nathan Gray 3-0-7, David Clark 2-0-4, Dylan Weidrick 0-0-0, Tim Young 1-0-2. Totals 25-18-75.
BROOKSIDE (52): Hunter Skolnicki 1-0-3, Justin Lopez 2-0-4, Keyonte Francis 6-3-15, Nathan Keith 3-0-6, Alex Robinson 8-1-17, Josh Zenkert 0-0-0, Cameron Drew 0-0-0, Kevin Jones 0-3-3, Mat Gorta 2-0-4. Totals 22-7-52.
Brookside 12 13 12 15 — 75
Wellington 10 26 19 20 — 52
Three-point goals: Wellington 7-12 (Starkey 2, Gray, Shaw 3, Perry), Brookside 1-7 (Skolnicki). Field goals: Wellington 25-55 (45 percent), Brookside 22-50 (44 percent). Free throws: Wellington 18-22 (82 percent), Brookside 7-13 (54 percent). Rebounds: Wellington 43, Brookside 19. Turnovers: Wellington 22, Brookside 13. Total fouls: Wellington 16, Brookside 23.
Junior varsity: Brookside, 36-30