WELLINGTON — It’s tough to beat a team that has length, plays defense and can score from inside and out.
Just ask the Patriot Athletic Conference.
The Wellington Dukes continued their dominant run through the PAC on Monday, making quick work of Columbia in a 50-29 win.
The Dukes improved to 9-2, 8-0 in the PAC Stars Division.
“We just try to play big on defense and pass the ball to get the open shot on offense,” Wellington sophomore Jalen Gibbs said. “It’s really fun playing with all these talented girls — and makes things easier.”
Gibbs led a ferocious Dukes attack, which was in control on both sides of the ball.
Wellington’s length caused consistent problems for Columbia, forcing 21 turnovers and blocking nine shots.
Two of the blocks came from Gibbs during a second-quarter sequence in which the Dukes used a 9-0 run to expand their lead to 22-7 midway through the period.
Erin Frenk also had a big second quarter for Wellington, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds while also coming up with numerous tipped balls and steals.
The Dukes wore out Columbia with constant pressure and activity on the defensive end.
“Sometimes you have to just let them play a little bit,” Wellington coach Nathan Morris said. “We try to put them in different positions but ultimately they just do what they’re supposed to do.”
Alexis Lehmkuhl came out of halftime playing aggressively, scoring eight of her game-high 29 points in the third quarter.
Lehmkuhl used a variety of offensive moves to score and also find her teammates. A twisting layup by her gave Wellington their largest lead of the game, 36-15, late in the third quarter.
“We have a team full of people that can do different things on the court, so it’s a lot of fun,” Lehmkuhl said. “I just try to bring energy to the team and make sure we’re talking.”
Columbia (8-7, 6-3) turned the ball over three straight times to start the game, falling into a quick 8-0 hole. A Riley Thomas jumper with 3:23 seconds left in the first quarter gave the Raiders their first score.
Gibbs picked up three steals and two assists during the early Dukes blitz.
“Our three big girls just try to take up space and get blocks and steals,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds three blocks and thee steals.
Serena Goode led the Raiders with nine points.
The Dukes held Columbia to just 27 percent shooting from the field and outrebounded the Raiders 33-20.
“It’s our fifth straight game holding a team under 30 points.” Morris said. “We preach communication and talking, and our girls have bought in to that.
Contact Paul Williams at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wellington 50, Columbia 29
COLUMBIA (29): Serena Goode 2-3-9, Jill Grzywna 1-0-2, Danielle Matzelle 1-0-2, Megan Seitz 0-0-0, Riley Thomas 2-0-5, Mikayla Dupaski 2-0-5, Madison Spirnak 0-1-1, Emma Roberts 2-1-5. Totals 10-5-29.
WELLINGTON (50): Leah Wright 1-0-2, Alexis Lehmkuhl 8-4-20, Jalen Gibbs 6-4-17, Hope Diermyer 1-0-3, Erin Frenk 3-0-6, Micah Smiley 0-0-0, Jill Laposky 1-0-2, Brooklinn Damiano 0-0-0. Totals 20-8-50.
Columbia 6 4 8 11 — 29
Wellington 12 14 13 11 — 50
Three point goals: Columbia 4-13 (Goode 2, Dupaski, Thomas), Wellington 2-7 (Gibbs, Diermyer). Field goals: Columbia 10-37 (27 percent), Wellington 20-43 (46 percent). Free throws: Columbia 5-8 (62 percent), Wellington 8-15 (53 percent). Rebounds: Columbia 20, Wellington 33. Total fouls: Columbia 10, Wellington 8. Turnovers: Columbia 21, Wellington 13.
Junior varsity: Wellington, 37-13