Wellington loses undefeated mark in title game against Oak Ridge
The undefeated season for Wellington came to a heartbreaking end in the state championship game.
Robin Perry dropped 32 points on the Wolverines and they fell 71-60 to loaded Orlando Oak Ridge in the Class 9A final on Saturday night at the RP Funding Center.
“I’m so proud of our kids,” Wellington coach Matt Colin said. “That’s a tough task playing another team that’s very big, very skilled. They’re a very good team.”
Making their third state run in the last four seasons, the Wolverines (31-1) have gone 112-13 over the four-year stretch that started with Trent Frazier, now a freshman at Illinois, hitting the winning free throw as a sophomore in the 2015 title game.
Wellington has the one championship, a semifinal defeat on a buzzer-beater against Kissimmee Osceola last season and now a runner-up finish. After winning it all in 2015, the Wolverines have lost to the eventual state champ each of the following three seasons - in 2016, going down in a double-overtime regional final against Coral Springs.
If Wellington was going to lose because it couldn’t match up with Oak Ridge’s firepower, having a pair of highly touted senior prospects, Perry wasn’t the one expected to torture them. He found every which way to score, even putting back his own free-throw miss for two with 2:25 remaining to put the Pioneers (30-4) up 12. He was 11-for-15 and 4-of-5 from 3.
“He shot the leather off the ball,” Colin said. “He stretched out our defense and really made it difficult for us to play solid defense on him. Hats off to him for the way he shot the ball.”
Five-star Oak Ridge forward and LSU commit Emmitt Williams was disqualified late in the third quarter. Already called for one technical foul earlier in the game, Williams hung on the rim too long for another after a monster alley-oop slam.
Williams and Texas A&M signee Antwann Jones, a four-star guard, were held to 10 points combined.
Senior point guard Nico Toledo had 19 to lead Wellington and junior Linton Brown added 17.
“I had a great group of guys to play with. They’re more than just my teammates. They’re my brothers,” said Toledo, nose bloodied from a hit he took in the final minutes. “I wouldn’t trade my team for the world, even with the outcome that happened.”
Oak Ridge opened up a 14-point lead late in the first half. Trey Perry connected on a corner 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
Wellington started the opposite as it did in the semifinal against Miramar. It was Oak Ridge that was sprinting out of the gate, starting on a 13-3 run. The Wolverines hung tough in the first quarter and trailed 17-10 after one.
The period ended with Nico Toledo hitting two of three free throws as he was fouled on a three-quarters court shot at the buzzer. It followed an Oak Ridge stall that lasted longer than three minutes of game time.
After senior guard Bryan Williams led the Wolverines with 25 points in the semifinal - 18 of them in the first half - he was held to 10 and was scoreless before halftime. He came out firing coming out of halftime, drilling a 3-pointer on the opening possession of the second half.