Wellington School boys basketball coach Craig Taylor believed his team could find a way to upset top-seeded Harvest Prep in the second round of the Division IV district tournament if it could keep the score close.
The 15th-seeded Jaguars trailed by seven points after the first quarter, but were outscored 21-0 in the second quarter and 25-12 in the third quarter, as Harvest Prep rolled to an 85-50 win Feb. 28.
Junior guard Elliott Fite had 24 points and sophomore guard Cameron Edmondson scored 11 to lead Wellington, which finished 7-17.
"Harvest Prep is obviously very tough and deep, so we knew we needed to keep the game close to give ourselves a chance," said Taylor, whose team trailed 46-18 at halftime. "They shot the ball well and we went stone cold in the second quarter to fall out of the game. For whatever reason, we couldn't throw the ball in the ocean from the beach in the second quarter, and that's where we lost the game."
The loss ended a rebuilding season for the Jaguars, who didn't have any returning starters from a year ago.
Wellington won two of its last three regular-season games, beating Granville Christian 53-45 on Feb. 11 and Ridgeway Ridgemont 61-32 on Feb. 13, and defeated 14th-seeded Village Academy 39-23 in the first round of the district tournament Feb. 22 before falling to Harvest Prep.
"We really grew as a team that started the season with very little varsity experience into a team that was playing good basketball by the end of the season," junior forward Ben Brisk said. "We showed a lot of growth when we lost to Bexley in a close game (57-55 on Jan. 18) after they had beaten us (65-33 on Dec. 19) a month earlier."
The Jaguars lose one senior in guard Christopher Jones and expect to return all five of their starters in Brisk, Edmondson, Fite and junior guards Chandler James and Mason McIntyre.
Edmondson averaged 12.5 points and 2.6 steals, Fite averaged 11.4 points and 1.6 steals, James averaged eight points and 6.3 rebounds, McIntyre averaged 4.8 points and Brisk averaged 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds.
Also expected back are junior post player Ben Sloneker, sophomore guard Sterling Adiansingh, freshman post player Peter Schoelkopff and freshman guard Connor Weber.
"We have everyone coming back and, if our kids practice hard and go to the weight room, we'll be OK for next year," Taylor said.