ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE Wellington's Maxwell Joppeck drives towards the basket against John Hay's Dalen Solomon in the first half of the championship game of the Gossman basketball tournament Friday night at Wellington High School.
WELLINGTON — The first three games of Wellington’s annual Dan Grossman Allstate Insurance Holiday Classic all resulted in double-digit blowouts.
Fortunately, Wellington and John Hay saved the best for last.
The two teams delivered an instant classic Friday night, going back-and-forth until John Hay’s game-winning attempt rimmed out as time expired and the Dukes won 51-50.
Wellington senior Maxwell Joppeck knocked down the game-winning free throws with 18 seconds remaining, capping his second big performance in as many nights.
“I was definitely a little nervous at the line but making the first one helped,” Joppeck said.
Joppeck turned in a double-double with a game-high 24 point and 10 rebounds after dropping in 33 points in the opening round.
“I just try to play hard, go to the hole and also play like it is my last game no matter what,” Joppeck said. “We knew we had to just go leave it all on the floor and get a few days to rest.”
Things looked grim for the Dukes when they trailed by six points, 48-42, with just 1:53 seconds remaining.
Sophomore Mason McClellan quickly changed that outlook, knocking down a 3-pointer followed by a layup off of a steal to bring the Dukes within one at 48-47.
“Once I made that 3-pointer I was ready, then I was able to get that steal which was big,” McClellan said. “I think that really got us up and all of our practice for this moment helped us be prepared.”
Wellington led the entire first half, dominating defensively, as it held John Hay to only two points in the first quarter.
John Hay, led by Nigel Martin, trimmed the deficit to 22-17 at the half and took the lead early in the third quarter. The Hornets remained in the lead until Joppeck’s game-winning free throws.
“I can’t be any more proud of the guys in this locker room and the never-give-up attitude they have,” Wellington coach Dan Gundert said. “This was our first time winning this tournament, which is something we had set out to do.”
McClellan also scored in double figures with 11 points for the Dukes, who improved to 8-1.
The consolation game played prior to the championship saw Amherst pick up a 60-47 victory over Open Door.
Amherst led most of the game and held off a strong third-quarter push from Open Door to preserve the victory.
Alec Dimacchia led the way for the Comets with a team-high 17 points while junior Ryan Hritsko also scored in double figures with 11 points.
Open Door was led by Trey Brooks, who had a game-high 21 points.
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Wellington 51, John Hay 50
JOHN HAY (50): Herbert Kwofe 2-0-4, Nigel Martin 8-6-23, Javaughn Williams 3-1-7, Dalen Solomon 1-1-3, Sherman Kyle 1-0-2, Tryon Sledge 0-0-0, Robert Toney 2-0-5, Cristian Dillard 2-2-6. Totals 19-10-50.
WELLINGTON (51): Ryan Whitaker 1-0-3, Noah Diermyer 0-0-0, Mason McClellan 4-1-10, Nate Shelton 0-2-2, Brandon Orozco 1-0-3, Colton Schmidt 3-2-9, Maxwell Joppeck 8-6-24. Totals 17-11-51.
John Hay 2 15 19 14 — 50
Wellington 9 13 13 16 — 51
Three point goals: John Hay 2-6 (Martin, Toney), Wellington 6-14 (Whitaker, McClellan, Orozco, Schmidt, Joppeck 2). Field goals: John Hay 19-45 (42 percent), Wellington 17-40 (42 percent). Free Throws: John Hay 10-17 (59 percent), Wellington 11-14 (79 percent). Rebounds: John Hay 29, Wellington 26. Total fouls: John Hay 13, Wellington 15 . Turnovers: John Hay 9, Wellington 10.