WELLINGTON — For better or worse, the ebb and flow nature that has come to define the early portion of Wellington’s season might not be a passing fancy.
Maybe the topsy-turvy turn from explosive offense to stone cold collapse, followed by dramatic finishes, is woven into the team’s chemistry.
And maybe that’s the way the Dukes like it. Wellington staged another yin-yang performance in which it squandered a 20-point advantage, only to turn on the jets in the final minute of the fourth quarter, for a 57-54 non-conference victory over Bay on Tuesday night.
No player personifies the Dukes’ nature better than senior point guard Cory Kidd. Over a stretch of 21/2 minutes in the opening quarter, Kidd scored six straight baskets, accounting for 15 points — highlighting a run in which Wellington jumped out to a 22-1 lead.
The Dukes (5-2 overall) at times make it look easy — and that’s become part of the problem, according to Wellington coach Tom Eibel.
“Sometimes it’s a blessing, because I look up at the scoreboard and we’ve put up 22 points so quickly,” he said. “But it also can also hurt you because you think you’re going to get all your baskets that easily. And you won’t. Not against good teams like Bay.”
Which is precisely what happened.
Slowly, basket by basket, the Rockets lopped off chunks of the Dukes’ lead in the second half. Junior center Pat McGlynn scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the final two quarters, as Bay’s defense clamped down, holding Wellington to a combined 7 of 22 from the field (31 percent).
Ben Cullin, a senior point guard, came off the Rockets’ bench to score all 11 of his points in the final quarter.
Bay tied it at 49-49 with 2:58 remaining when Wellington promptly whipped the ball up the floor to senior forward Erick Saunders, who drove in for a layup while being fouled by McGlynn.
For a team that prefers to run in the open court, the Dukes were at their best down the stretch, patiently moving the ball through its half court set, threading its way through the defense, when Saunders found swingman Blake Sword underneath the basket for about the easiest score of the night.
“We like to run and jump and really push the basketball, but sometimes that means that the points are going to come in bunches,” said Kidd, who scored 18 of his team-high 19 points in the first half. “We’re going to be hot for a while, then we’ll hit cold streaks, then we’ll pick it back up. That’s just how we are.”
Bay (2-4 overall), meanwhile, continues to be plagued by miserable starts. Though the Rockets made an inspired comeback in the second half, it was of small consolation to coach Jason Frolo.
“It still hurts,” said Frolo. “We’ve struggled in the first quarter all year and tonight was a perfect example. I was happy with how we responded, because we played well in the third or fourth quarters. But we’ve got to figure out why we’re coming out so slowly at the start.”
Contact Pete Alpern at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wellington 57, Bay 54
WELLINGTON (54): Adam Gorski 3-1-7, Ben Cullen 4-1-11, Tom Campbell 1-0-2, Rick Banal 1-0-2, Kyle Banal 3-0-9, Brian Harrell 0-2-2, Pat McGlynn 10-1-21. Totals 22-5-54.WELLINGTON (57): Brandon Schmidt 3-2-8, Cory Kidd 7-3-19, Blake Sword 2-1-5, Erick Saunders 3-2-8, Kyle Bartolovich 1-1-3, Chris Huelsman 6-0-13, Bryan Doehr 0-1-1. Totals 22-10-57.
Bay 5 14 13 22 — 54
Wellington 22 14 4 17 — 57
Three-point goals: Bay 5 (Kyle Banal 3, Cullen 2); Wellington 3 (Kidd 2, Huelsman). Field goals: Bay 22 of 44 (50 percent); Wellington 22 of 47 (46 percent). Free throws: Bay 5 of 12; Wellington 10 of 16. Turnovers: Bay 21; Wellington 13. Total fouls: Bay 18, Wellington 13. Fouled out: None.
Junior varsity: Bay, 48-42.