For one, the Dukes held their annual Seniors Night celebration. For another, they played an overtime basketball game with longtime rival Keystone.
And to complete the drama, Wellington also won the JV game in overtime.
Three of the last four Wellington-Keystone varsity games have gone into overtime. This time, the Dukes pulled away in the extra period to post a 62-56 Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division victory.
It avenged a two-point loss to the Wildcats on Jan. 18 in LaGrange. In a departure, that one was settled in regulation time.
Wellington won its final home game with the help of 30 points, six in overtime, by senior Dave Clark. He put Dukes fans on their feet when he hit two straight 3-point baskets in the last 1:32 as the Dukes fought back after trailing 50-41 with just over three minutes to play.
Clark, who made six of nine foul shots in the fourth quarter and overtime, wasn’t overjoyed by his overall 9-of-15 free throw shooting.
“I think I missed too many, honestly,” he said. “I had to settle myself down because I knew they’d keep coming after me. I was struggling and even though I’m a pretty good foul shooter, they’re gonna keep coming at me.”
Clark said he remembered one important point from coach Dan Gundert’s halftime message.
“I know we talked about we had to get down and play some defense,” Clark said. “I mean, they had some wide-open looks shooting their threes and they were knocking them down. Especially the one right at the end of the half (by Keystone’s Matt Bastock). That one really hurt us. We could have gone in 17-17, instead we went down three.”
Wellington (8-14, 8-8 PAC) trailed after each of the first three quarters, but outscored the Wildcats 20-12 in the fourth to gain the tie. The Dukes won overtime 11-5, with junior Dylan Kidd hitting a 3-pointer and two foul shots without a miss. His three gave Wellington a 56-53 lead and it never trailed again.
“When Dave Clark stepped up tonight, the other kids followed,” Gundert said. “We made hustle plays down the stretch and we got a loose ball here and a rebound there, and it felt like it finally bounced our way.”
The game was close from opening tip. Keystone (9-13, 8-8) finally began to creep ahead with about three minutes left in the third quarter. K.J. Williams drove for a basket, Adam Hopkins hit two foul shots and Chase Robison scored with a putback for a 33-24 Wildcats lead.
And the lead reached 37-27 when Collin Fitzgerald drained a 3-pointer with under a minute to go in the quarter. But the Dukes chipped away and got a basket from senior Tim Young and two foul shots each from Kidd and Clark to cut the deficit to 50-45. That set the stage for Clark’s late heroics.
“The different thing about tonight was Wellington was the aggressor,” Wildcats coach Jeff Holzhauer said. “They got to the line 32 times, we got to the line 13 times. And we weren’t playing good fundamental defense. We were reaching and hacking.”
Wellington 62, Keystone 56
KEYSTONE (56): C.J. Conrad 2-1-5, Collin Fitzgerald 1-0-3, Austin Conrad 0-0-0, K. J. Williams 4-0-8, Matt Bastock 7-0-17, Chase Robison 1-3-5, Adam Hopkins 6-3-16. Totals 22-7-56.
WELLINGTON (62): Dylan Kidd 4-5-16, Jacob Grimmett 0-0-0, Dave Clark 9-9-30, Joey Holliday 1-2-4, Daryn Broadwater 0-0-0, Tony Walker 0-0-0, Dylan Weidrick 2-3-7, Tim Young 2-1-5, Jake Miller 0-0-0. Totals 18-20-62.
Keystone 11 9 19 12 5 — 56
Wellington 10 7 14 20 11 — 62
Three-point goals: Keystone 7-13 (Bastock 3, Fitzgerald, Hopkins), Wellington 6-15 (Clark 3, Kidd 3); Field goals: Keystone 22-52 (42.3 percent), Wellington 18-59 (30.5 percent); Free throws: Keystone 7-13 (53.8 percent), Wellington 20-31 (64.5 percent); Rebounds: Keystone 39, Wellington 30; Turnovers: Keystone 24, Wellington 9; Fouled out: Williams.
Junior varsity: Wellington, 40-39 (OT).
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.