As the month of January draws to a close, the Wellington School boys basketball team seems to have transformed itself into a different squad than the one that started the season 1-7.

As the month of January draws to a close, the Wellington School boys basketball team seems to have transformed itself into a different squad than the one that started the season 1-7.

Shekinah Christian found that out the hard way last Saturday in the final of the Jaguar Invitational. After losing to the Flames 65-47 on Dec. 19, Wellington knocked off Shekinah Christian 59-58 to win its own invitational for the third time in four years.

"This gives us a ton of momentum, especially since the last time we played them they crushed us," said guard Jeremy Guinn, the tournament's MVP. "We came into this game knowing they had shooters, so we went into a (diamond-and-one) defense and we got out on the shooters on the wings. We were able to shut them down."

Guinn scored 10 points and Jacob Robinson, who didn't play in the Dec. 18 meeting, finished with 16 points. Robinson and Tyler Sharp joined Guinn on the all-tournament team.

The Jaguars, who have won their last five games to improve to 6-8 overall, escaped when a last-second 3-pointer rimmed out.

The Jaguars were without coach Brian McCants, who was hospitalized with chest pains last Saturday morning.

"We definitely wanted to come out and do it for coach. We hope he's doing well and that we will have him for next week," Guinn said. "We know we can actually win now. We just have to come out and execute."

McCants was kept in the hospital overnight for observation. Assistant coach Dave Herrick, who took over for McCants, is 2-0 as interim coach.

After playing Highland last Tuesday, the Jaguars visit Licking County Christian Academy on Friday and play host to Village Academy on Tuesday.

Herrick was pleased to see how the team was rounding into shape as they draw nearer to the Division IV tournament.

"We play a lot of Division II and III teams. By the time we get to the tournament, we've kind of seen it all and done it all," Herrick said. "It just makes us a better team."

•The girls basketball has had trouble finishing games. The Jaguars, 7-7 overall before facing Columbus Academy last Wednesday, were outscored in the fourth quarter in five out of their last six games, but compiled a 4-2 record.

However, a second-half drought cost Wellington in the Jaguar Invitational final last Saturday. Trailing Columbus School for Girls 24-21 at the half, the Jaguars made two field goals and scored eight points in the second half as the Unicorns headed to a 44-29 win.

"It seemed like there was a lid on top of our basket," said senior Gabrielle Harper, who joined teammate Colleen Durfee on the all-tournament team. "We had a lot of opportunities, but nothing was dropping for us."

With the victory, the Unicorns claimed their third consecutive Jaguar Invitational championship. Wellington coach Tysha Crump said the lessons the Jaguars learned in the invitational will help them as they prepare for the postseason.

After facing Academy, Wellington visits Licking County Christian Academy on Friday and Shekinah Christian Academy on Feb. 4.

"The final was a good game to prepare us for the rest of the season. CSG is a good team and they make you work for four quarters," Crump said.

"Even though we weren't making shots, I was very proud we just didn't let CSG run away with it. We kept fighting until the buzzer sounded."