Scott, Wellington finish first CBL season with win

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – Wellington BC in general and Devon Scott in particular were not going to be stopped Thursday night at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Complex.

“We talked before the game and we just decided we’re not going to leave out of here with these fans having a bad taste in their mouths,” Scott said after the game that saw him register the first ever triple-double of his life as Wellington wrapped up its campaign in the inaugural Canadian Basketball League season with a 107-82 victory over Hamilton. “I just made everything I could to put my team in a position to score and they did everything they could to get me the ball as well. I just tried my best to put the ball in the hole.”

Scott finished with game highs in points (35), rebounds (21) and assists (10).

“In the first half, he played like he was the most valuable player,” Wellington interim head coach Butch Carter said. “The play was really top-notch on our side tonight.”

Scott was thrilled to end his first CBL season with the performance.

“I’m honestly just blessed,” he said. “This whole season I was blessed to play with great teammates. I was blessed to have no injuries. The Lord blessed me with a lot of physical attributes, but coach did a good job of honing my skills and giving me little moves here and there to make it work.”

The game was one of the few this season where Wellington grabbed a lead and maintained it. Scott said the young, loud crowd helped with that. The end zone stands had more fans in them than at any other home game this season.

“We felt the energy from the crowd,” Scott said. “We saw the little kids in the front row watching us and we just didn’t want to let anybody down tonight. We go out to the schools every week and the kids support us, ups, downs, wins, losses, so we wanted to come out with a great win. Once we got the lead, we wanted to keep building on it and give them something to go home happy about.”

A couple of changes in the Wellington lineup in the last week since a 109-95 loss to Hamilton last weekend at Mohawk College proved beneficial. Oliver McGlade came in to act as a backup point guard and Derrick Stewart was added to the group of forwards. Both played for Hamilton in last weekend’s win over Wellington.

Gone from the team were Isaiah Thomas and Manny Thomas. Isaiah Thomas left with an average of 7.9 points and three assists in the 14 games he played and Manny Thomas was out with an average of 5.7 points and three rebounds per game in 16 games – 12 with Durham United and four with Wellington. He was the player Wellington obtained for ‘future consideration’ about a month ago.

“The team was lacking a certain consistency in the substitution pattern,” Carter said. “We wanted to see if we could change the makeup of the team and would it work better and clearly it did. Sometimes it helps you to not be as talented.”

The changes helped Wellington do something it failed to do often this season – protect a lead. The hosts won every quarter as they led 28-19 at the end of the first quarter, 51-35 at halftime and 82-60 after the third quarter.

Ending the season on a winning note gave Carter optimism for the future.

“All the guys that are here have bought into what we are doing,” he said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have the group that we’ve had. Tonight was a combination of Dominique (Walls) showed he was a better player than when he got here, Devon is definitely better than when he got here as far as shooting the basketball and decision making. I just think for a first-year league that we’ve come so far in trying to get this thing going”

It was the first time this season that Wellington scored more than 99 points in a game. They twice hit 99, both in losses to Hamilton.

Wellington shot 49 per cent during Thursday’s game, 31 per cent on three-pointers and 65 per cent on free throws. By contrast, Hamilton shot 37 per cent in the game and 23 per cent on three pointers. However, they missed one of the 18 free throws they took.

Dominique Walls hit for 22 points for Wellington while McGlade had 11 and Gilbert Gyamfi added 10. Walls had 11 rebounds and Stewart nine and Evan Pannell had three steals.

Troy Taylor led Hamilton with 19 points while Mason Archie had 16, Mohamed Mohamed had 11 and Chris Carter and Jody Hill each had 10. Will McClure had nine rebounds Taylor three assists and Hill three steals.

“It was a good year,” Scott said. “As a whole, we played well at times but, of course, we could’ve played better and picked up some wins.”

Will Scott be back next season?

“Honestly, that’s up to coach,” he said. “If he feels that I should come back, I will. If he feels there are better opportunities for me out there, I’m trusting him with kind of pointing me in the right direction. Only time will tell.”