01 Feb 2023

Game Night: Wildwood at Umatilla

It is the last week of the regular season.  With that in mind, we went off the beaten path and headed a bit north to Umatilla to catch the Bulldogs take on the Wildwood Wildcats.   Umatilla has been one of the more pleasant surprises this season while the perennial 1A contender Wildcats are starting to peak at the right time of the season.

Wildwood got out to a fast start, leading 11-4 after the first four minutes.  This was a foreshadowing of things to come.  The Bulldogs had a difficult time getting good looks at the basket and Wildwood took advantage of those tough shots.  Wildwood controlled the boards at both ends, made shots from behind the three-point arc and scored on the break.  After one quarter, Wildwood was up by the astonishing score of 30-10.

Umatilla made a run early in the period, but Wildwood fought it off.  At bit later Umatilla began to make some dents in the deficit and with three minutes left was down 34-18.  With under two minutes to play, Umatilla’s 6’0 senior Jeric Hutto scored nine straight points and the Bulldogs had a chance to be down just thirteen going into the break.  However, Wildwood’s Ben Bellamy, a 6’3 senior, got loose in transition and threw down a dunk before the buzzer, making it a 43-28 score at halftime.

The Bulldogs got on a roll quickly in the third quarter.  Within a minute, they had cut the margin to twelve, 46-34, forcing a Wildwood timeout.  Wildwood grabbed the momentum back as 6’3 senior Jamar Dickens threw down a dunk and 5’9 sophomore Adyn Corbin dropped in a three.  With 3:44 left in the quarter, Wildwood had pushed its lead to eighteen, 54-36, forcing a Umatilla timeout.  Once again, the Bulldogs got to within twelve but the Wildcats scored the last two baskets of the period to lead 59-43 going into the final quarter.

Wildwood pretty much put the game away with a 9-0 run to start the fourth period.  With four minutes left, the Wildcats were up 72-48 and play was beginning to resemble a middle-school PE class.  The Wildcats continued to add to their lead, ultimately winning by a score of 86-58.

Wildwood was led in scoring by 5’9 senior Vince Brown with 18 points.  Bellamy added 16 points.

For Umatilla, 6’6 freshman Herly Brutus had 14 points, Brian Jefferson and Hutto, both 6’0 senior, scored 11 points each and 6’4 sophomore Tyler McLinton-Hutto added 10 points.

Bellamy notched a double-double for Wildwood as he grabbed eleven rebound to go along with those 16 points.  He knocked down a couple of perimeter jump shots, put back a trio of missed shots and pretty much made life miserable at both ends of the floor for the Bulldogs.  With a solid frame, a good dose of athleticism, and playing with a high motor, Bellamy is the kind of player than can make a winning difference in the playoffs.

We are not ashamed to say that Brutus of Umatilla was the main reason for attending the game.  We had seen him at different events in the fall and summer and came away impressed with not only his current production but also potential.  Brutus has the size and skills to be a Swiss army knife on the offensive end and a versatile defender at that end of the floor.  He handles the ball well, makes good passes, and is an active rebounder at both ends of the court.  Brutus scores mostly on shots at the rim right now but he did connect on a jumper from deep that looked fundamentally sound.  When all is said and done, Brutus should be in the mix as a top player in the state’s 2026 Class.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.