WELLINGTON. — A month is a long time in boys basketball.
Black River lost a game much closer than the final score indicated in December against Wellington. This time around, the Dukes were more than prepared in a 73-34 Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division victory Friday evening.
“Everything went right for them and nothing went right for us,” said Black River guard Garrett Hord. “That basically sums it up.”
The Pirates remained winless in the PAC at 0-7, falling to 1-10 overall, while Wellington (11-2, 7-2) kept pace with Buckeye.
“Wellington is a much-improved basketball team from the first time we played them,” Black River coach Randy Endsley II said. “Hopefully we learn from the way they play that good, hard, tough man-to-man defense. We want to look at those things as well as the things we did wrong. We want to look at what other teams do well against us and ask ourselves how we can do things like that.”
The Pirates never led, and Wellington senior Max Joppeck got into an early groove. The forward scored 14 first-quarter points, starting 5-for-5 from the field with three free throws on three-point plays.
Black River opened the second quarter with six straight points, cutting the lead to 24-18.
“We were playing aggressive and playing the passing lanes,” Hord said. “We sped them up instead of them speeding us up.”
Wellington, however, took a timeout and countered with a 14-0 run. Joppeck got the home crowd back in it, stealing a pass and taking it coast-to-coast for a dunk to make it 30-18. Mason McClellan and Brandon Orozco buried back-to-back threes to cap the run.
Joppeck finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and a block. Hord was matched up with him in the second half — getting help down in the post — and the double team forced Joppeck to pass the ball a bit more. Colton Schmidt took advantage, scoring eight of his 16 in the third.
The Dukes also smothered the Pirates into six third-quarter turnovers, limiting them to just three points in the frame and 10 for the second half.
“(Joppeck) is a nice young man,” Endsley said. “He’s a good player. He works hard. It’s nice to see players like that, who have talent and then work as hard as he works. That’s a testament to him and his coaching staff.”
Jay Chidsey had a couple big moments for Black River, connecting on a half-court shot at the halftime buzzer and ultimately scoring six points. However, he fell awkwardly in the third and hurt his right ankle, having to be carried off the court by two coaches.
Endsley said the early prognosis is an ankle sprain.
Wellington 73, Black River 34
BLACK RIVER 12 12 3 7 — 34
WELLINGTON 24 22 17 10 — 73
Black River — Brennan Scheck 1-0-3, Zach Hawley 3-2-8, River Wheeler 2-0-4, Garrett Hord 0-0-0, Caleb Poldruhi 1-1-3, Jonathan Herb 1-1-3, Jay Chidsey 2-1-6, Kyler Foster 2-1-5, Devon McLean 1-0-2. TOTALS: 13-6-34.
Wellington — Mason McClellean 3-2-9, Colton Schmidt 3-4-16, Max Joppeck 10-3-26, Noah Diermyer 1-0-2, Ryan Whitaker 1-0-3, Brandon Orozco 3-4-12, Ben Bliss 2-0-4, Zach Constatino 0-1-1. TOTALS: 25-14-73.
3-point goals — Chidsey, Scheck, Joppeck 3, Orozco 2, Schmidt 2, McClellean, Whitaker. Rebounds — Black River 16 (Poldruhi 5), Wellington 29 (Joppeck 11). Records — Black River (1-10, 0-7), Wellington (11-2, 7-2). Junior varsity — Black River 39, Wellington 30.