WELLINGTON — The Buckeye girls basketball team already knew it was going to have the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division title to itself, but on Wednesday evening it was looking for a sweetener.
There’s nothing sweeter than the taste of perfection.
The Bucks needed overtime but ultimately managed to cap an undefeated league season with a 49-43 win over Wellington.
“It’s amazing,” Buckeye senior Elizabeth Whetstone said. “We’ve been working for this for as long as we could hope. To get this win tonight and really seal the deal, and Coach (Ron Clady) has been really emotional about it, it’s pretty awesome.”
Buckeye (19-3, 16-0) hadn’t won the PAC Stars since 2006 and will take the No. 2 seed into the Elyria Division II District behind Bay. Wellington fell to 14-6, 12-3.
“We obviously haven’t done this in awhile because we haven’t won PAC in awhile,” Buckeye’s Gabby Glancy said. “It feels amazing to end my senior year winning the conference.”
Glancy and Whetstone were instrumental in closing overtime, combining for eight of the team’s 10 points. Whetstone had been limited to two points through regulation but opened overtime with a 3-pointer.
Madison Ross followed with a layup and Glancy scored the next four from the free throw line to help keep the Dukes at bay.
Buckeye’s defense, however, was critical in forcing overtime. Both teams had two chances to win in regulation, but each missed a shot and turned the ball over. The Bucks had the last possession after forcing a steal, but Ross was smothered in the post by Wellington’s Jalen Gibbs and couldn’t get a shot off.
“They listen well and execute well and do their job,” Clady said of his defense. “We did a few different things tonight, and they got it done. The kids on the bench did their role, too. It’s a team effort. We knew that our defense would win games, and now it’s coming into form here at the end.”
The Dukes had a scare midway through the first when Gibbs went down with a right ankle injury. She had to be helped off the court and left the gym to get it tended to. Wellington is already playing without Alexis Lehmkuhl, who was averaging about 15 points and seven rebounds through 10 games before injuring her left leg.
Gibbs, however, returned in the second quarter with a vengeance, scoring the next nine points for Wellington and ultimately finishing with 22, nine rebounds and strong defense.
Wellington forced two ties in the second half — at 34 after the third and at 39 after regulation — but was unable to retake the lead after Buckeye closed the second quarter on a 15-7 run.
“We knew we were going to have a battle here,” Clady said. “They don’t back down to anybody and they play tough. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy game. My hope was that it would be close and obviously pull it out.”
Buckeye 49, Wellington 43 (OT)
BUCKEYE (49): Gabby Glancy 4-4-13, Elizabeth Whetstone 2-1-6, Madison Ross 3-1-7, Sydney Bell 3-2-9, Tatum Widenmeyer 1-1-3, Autumn Meyer 1-2-4, Courtney Keeler 1-0-2, Alyssa Becket 2-0-5. Totals 17-11-49.
WELLINGTON (43): Lexi Wright 0-0-0, Jalen Gibbs 10-2-22, Erin Frenk 4-1-9, Brooklinn Damiano 0-0-0, Amanda Spiekerman 1-2-4, Grace Dudziak 1-0-2, Julia Molek 3-0-6. Totals 19-5-43.
Buckeye 7 17 10 5 10 — 49
Wellington 8 11 15 5 4 — 43
Three-point goals: Buckeye 4-20 (Becket, Bell, Glancy, Whetstone), Wellington 0-11. Field goals: Buckeye 17-51 (33 percent), Wellington 19-48 (40 percent). Free throws: Buckeye 11-22 (50 percent), Wellington 5-10 (50 percent). Rebounds: Buckeye 35 (Bell 12), Wellington 31 (Frenk 10, Gibbs 9). Total fouls: Buckeye 12, Wellington 19. Fouled out: Wright. Turnovers: Buckeye 18, Wellington 23.
Junior varsity: Buckeye, 57-40