SULLIVAN TWP. — Everything was working against Black River on Friday night.
The Pirates were missing a starter — senior small forward Stephen Zumack is likely done for the season with a broken leg — trailed by 14 points in the second half and hadn’t won a Patriot Athletic Conference game since 2011.
Those things didn’t matter, as the Pirates rallied to beat Wellington 51-49 in front of a packed crowd to end a
38-game PAC skid.
“We worked real hard for this one,” senior center Tyler Potter said. “It’s kind of fun to come out here and surprise people. We walk out and other teams’ student sections boo us, and it’s fun being the underdog.”
Black River (2-7, 1-5 PAC), which hadn’t won a PAC game since beating the Dukes on Feb. 11, 2011, faced a 40-26 deficit midway through the third quarter, but cut it to seven by the end of the period and outscored the Dukes (1-10, 0-6) 22-9 in the fourth.
“Wow, that’s about it,” junior guard Alex McIntyre said. “We all played hard. Sometimes we had moments to shine and other times we were down, but we came back. We had to keep our heads up and just keep going.”
A team that snapped a Medina County-record 49-game losing streak just a week ago now has won two of its last three.
“Everything has been against these kids the last two years,” interim coach Josh Calame said. “Injuries, losing, the losing streak and then starting to react to that. They know how to react to that now because not only in games have they been down, but as a program and as players.”
It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Dukes, who built the double-figure lead in the third behind Chase Bealer (18 points).
“We just quit executing,” Dukes coach Dan Gundert said. “Everyone wanted to do everything on their own and had a ton of turnovers, some costly ones down the stretch. (Black River) outplayed us in the final two minutes and wanted it more than us.”
As the final horn sounded, the Pirates jumped up and down in celebration, their fans staying until well after the game to congratulate them.
Most importantly, the Pirates got to run out to the victory bell in front of their school and ring it.
“When we got down 14, we took a timeout and said, ‘You’re going to get back in it by getting stops, rebounds and getting good buckets,’” Calame said. “That’s what we did. We just chipped away and chipped away and all of a sudden we got it to one possession. It fell right into our hands.”
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.
Black River 51, Wellington 49
WELLINGTON: Dylan Kidd 3-4-12, Joey Holliday 3-0-6, Adam Berry 2-0-5, Trey Bealer 1-0-2, Chase Bealer 6-5-18, Matt Bullock 1-0-2, Bryce Gibbs 0-0-0, Jacob Miller 1-0-2, JuJuan Howard 0-2-2, Daryn Broadwater 0-0-0. Totals 17-11-49.
BLACK RIVER: Logan Goff 3-0-7, Curtis Roupe 2-2-6, Tyler Potter 4-5-13, Alex McIntyre 3-4-10, Allan Benson 4-3-13, Dylan Lewis 1-0-2, Glen Crabtree 0-0-0. Totals 17-14-51.
Wellington 14 17 9 9 — 49
Black River 13 11 9 22 — 51
3-point goals: Kidd 2, C. Bealer, Berry, Benson 2, Goff. Rebounds: Wellington 32 (Berry 6), Black River 23 (Potter 8). Assists: Wellington 8 (Kidd 3), Black River 6 (Benson 3).
Junior varsity: Wellington, 25-21.