WELLINGTON — The Black River boys basketball team brought the size, but Wellington brought the speed.
In the end, speed won out.
The Dukes turned things up to get the Pirates moving and used a big first quarter as the foundation of a 78-57 Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division win Friday evening.
It was the first game for Black River, while Wellington (2-1, 1-0) won its 17th straight home game.
“They did a great job in the first quarter,” Pirates coach Randy Endsley II said. “They ran with the basketball, they spread us and got some nice kick outs and they knocked down their shots. We were doing some switching on defense to help prevent that, but the penetration they got to the basket forced us to converge and they knocked them down.”
Jonathan Herb, the Pirates’ 6-foot-9 center, was held to one point in the first quarter but began establishing himself in the second with eight. He finished with 23 points and six rebounds, both game highs.
Herb is still recovering from a torn left ACL, which he said hampered him on defense. The Dukes took advantage, pulling him out of the paint when they could and either hitting a three — they connected on 8-of-14 from downtown to 5-of-11 for the Pirates — or finding a cutter to attack the paint.
“I wasn’t ready for the speed with my injury over the summer,” Herb said. “I’m just not fast enough right now, and that’s probably going to be my biggest weakness. … The biggest thing for me is just getting quicker on my feet and getting back to where I need to be.”
Wellington wasted no time establishing a fast tempo, fueled by six Black River turnovers in the first quarter. The Dukes turned those into seven points in a sequence of 14 unanswered during the first three minutes.
Noah Diermyer hit a 3-pointer, then stole the ball in transition and drove to the hoop for an old-fashioned three-point play. Brandon Orozco scored the first three of his team-high 16 points on the next possession, connecting from deep after the Dukes got out in transition off another turnover.
Black River was held without a field goal until the 1:55 mark, a Brennan Scheck 3-pointer.
Wellington built its lead to 31 points in the third quarter before Black River began chipping away. Jay Chidsey scored seven points for the Pirates in the final quarter and hit all three of his 3-point attempts on the evening for 12 points.
Contact Chris Sweeney at (440) 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @CSweeneyCT on Twitter.
Wellington 78, Black River 57
BLACK RIVER 7 15 12 23 — 57
WELLINGTON 22 26 16 14 — 78
Black River — Brennan Scheck 3-0-8, Caleb Simonson 2-2-6, Jonathan Herb 7-9-23, Devon McLean 0-0-0, Caleb Poldruhi 3-0-6, Jay Chidsey 4-1-12, Gavin Ford 0-1-1, Devin Humphreys 0-0-0, Kyle Potter 0-0-0, Zach Foster 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-14-57.
Wellington — Ryan Whitaker 2-4-9, Noah Diermyer 4-1-11, Parker Adler 3-2-8, Mason McClellan 5-0-10, Brandon Orozco 6-1-16, Ben Bliss 5-1-13, Troy Cole 0-0-0, Caleb Teague 3-2-8, Nick Laposky 0-0-0, Cole Standen 1-0-2, Wyatt Sasack 0-1-1. TOTALS: 29-12-78.
3-point goals — Chidsey 3, Scheck 2, Orozco 3, Diermeyer 2, Bliss 2, Whitaker. Rebounds — Black River 18 (Herb 6), Wellington 25 (Whitaker, Teague 4). Records — Black River (0-1, 0-1), Wellington (2-1, 1-0). Junior varsity — Wellington 35, Black River 19.