Another in a long line of standout performances by Dallas Patrick wasn't quite enough to lift the Wellington School boys basketball team to a second-round Division III district tournament upset.
A first-team all-district honoree who averaged 25 points and ranks second all-time in scoring for the Jaguars with more than 1,300 career points, Patrick helped his team build a 14-point lead over fourth-seeded Columbus Academy on March 2.
Patrick finished with 38 points, but the Vikings rallied for a 77-73 victory over the 12th-seeded Jaguars to advance to a district semifinal March 5 against seventh-seeded Africentric.
Wellington finished 14-10 overall, including 10-4 in the MSL-Cardinal Division to place third behind champion Harvest Prep (14-0).
"Our growth this season was great," Patrick said. "We've got a young and solid team. We've got a couple young guys who've come in and stepped up their level of play, doing whatever they can to help the team. Our progress is always forward because we're always in the gym together, getting better."
Wellington opened the postseason with a 72-64 victory over 20th-seeded Horizon Science on Feb. 25 as Patrick had 25 points and sophomore guard Marcus Stewart scored 22.
The Jaguars missed 17 of their first 18 shots from the floor against Horizon Science, but their shooting touch improved against Academy, as they made nine 3-pointers.
The Vikings, however, had four players score 15 or more points.
"(Academy is) big as far as being meaty and with physical prowess," coach Artie Taylor said. "They have a lot of experience, so it's a tough-minded group that can kind of get in the trenches with you and play a little bully ball, and they have enough skill players to make enough plays to bury teams. They have lots of depth."
Patrick led a senior class that also featured guard Ben Edwards and forward Katz Kadlic.
Stewart averaged 11 points and should lead the way next season along with junior forward Elijah Meredith, who averaged 14.5 points over the first 11 games before becoming ineligible because of the OHSAA transfer rule.
An Olentangy Orange transfer, Meredith was named honorable mention all-district.
Junior guard Connor Herrick and freshman guard/wing player Chase Ouellette both averaged seven points and freshman guard/wing player Christian Jones averaged five.
Junior guard Noah Jones-Beyene and freshmen Aurius Calloway (guard) and Robert Boyd (forward) are others eligible to return.
The Jaguars lost four of their first five games before winning 10 of their next 11.
"We struggled shooting the basketball the second half of the year a lot and we've struggled as a coaching staff to really figure out the rationale for that because we do feel like we have capable shooters with multiple shots," Taylor said. "Our final (four) games we were able to have multiple double-figure scorers and that's just been huge for us.
"Dallas has been part of some good runs for us since his freshman year. We're playing two freshmen and a sophomore and a lot of these guys don't have a lot of varsity minutes logged. They've done a tremendous job sorting through that."