Wellington Boys Rally to Run by Bloomfield for 3rd

by Nathan Gerdts | Posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

The Wellington-Napoleon boys’ basketball team finished its season like freshly prepared eggs: sunny side up.

The Tigers’ second-half comeback against Bloomfield led to a 65-56 victory in the MSHSAA Class 2 boys’ state third place game Friday afternoon at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the kids,” Tigers head coach Todd Shannon said after the game. “It was a great game.”

“Wellington played a great game,” Wildcats coach Jason Karnes said afterwards. “They’re a great team.”

Bloomfield jumped out to the 5-0 lead after a pair of buckets from Noah Vandiver. Dallas Reyonlds scored five quick points of his own to tie the game at seven, but the Wildcats claimed a 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The offenses caught fire in the second period, with Tristan Green hitting a pair of three-pointers to tie the game at 16. But Vandiver and Nathan Newell led the charge with a 10-2 run to give Bloomfield its largest lead of eight. Blake Gray hit a critical triple with 32 seconds left in the half to slice the margin to three, but Newell knocked down a pair of free throws for a 32-27 halftime lead.

“We got some steals and made some turnovers,” Shannon said of the second-quarter spark. “We started drawing fouls, and we’ve shot free throws well all year.”

Trey Shannon splashed home a trey that tied the game at 32 early in the third quarter. Green and Shannon provided much of the offense down the stretch, with Green working hard on the low post against Bloomfield defenders in foul trouble, and got the Tigers within 47-45 after three quarters of play.

“Any time a guy has fouls, it helps,” Green said. “But the guards also did a good job of driving into the defense.”

Shannon tied the game with a jumper and Green gave Wellington its first lead at 49-47 with a turnaround layup, a lead the Tigers would never relinquish. Bloomfield would rally to tie the game again at 54, but Reynolds put the win away with six straight points, including back-to-back layups in transition with less than 90 seconds to go.

“We got in the passing lanes all game long,” Reynolds said of the defense, which forced 18 turnovers.

“We needed Noah out there,” Karnes said of Vandiver, who fouled out of the game with two-and-a-half minutes left. “We were never able to string possessions together.”

Vandiver led Bloomfield with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Newell added 11 points for the Wildcats, which shot 40% from the field in the loss and end the season with a 28-4 record.

“When we have time to reflect, we’ll realize we did things that haven’t been done in 50 years [at Bloomfield],” Karnes said. “We did a lot of special things this year.”

Green poured in 19 points to pace Wellington. Reynolds had 16 points and five boards, and Shannon added 13 points to an offense that shot 51% for the game.

The Tigers end the campaign with a 29-2 record and finish in the top three in the state in Class 2 boys basketball for the first time since 2012.

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