UNION TOWNSHIP | Bowman Academy's basketball practices for the last week have been about two things: running and free throws.
The Eagles plan to be in better condition than their opponents, and can score points with the clock stopped.
"Our problem right now is not execution, it's heart and I'm telling our players right now to fight through execution," Bowman coach Marvin Rea said Saturday. "I'm teaching our guys to play through adversity, that's why our practices are just running and free throws. If you find the heart to win, you're going to win."
The Eagles hit 11-of-13 free throws in the fourth quarter of the Class 2A Wheeler Sectional title game against Noll, which went 4-of-10 in the same period. The difference was a 76-63 Bowman win, giving the Eagles their second straight sectional title and fourth overall.
"I'm going to thank (Rea) for that," junior Justin King said.
King scored 12 of his game-high 24 points from the free-throw line.
Bowman did its most damage when Noll had to sit Larry Crisler and Tyreon Gates because of foul trouble.
The Eagles turned a 38-34 halftime deficit into a 50-45 third-quarter lead while Gates and Crisler had their third fouls. When Noll came as close as three points early in the fourth quarter, Linden Jackson hit a 3-pointer for Bowman and Noll never came closer than six points.
"It hurt us to have Larry and Ty in foul trouble," Warriors coach Drew Trost said. "That was the biggest difference in the game for us."
Crisler led Bishop Noll with 13 points, one of four players to score in double figures. The Warriors took an early lead behind 12 first-quarter points from Matt Sandoval. Jalen Hord added 12 and Gates chipped in 10 points.
The Eagles won the sectional last season en route to the state title game. The last three winners from this sectional have reached the Class 2A state championship game, with Wheeler winning it in 2010.
"This one is better because now I'm looked to as a leader," King said. "Now we've won another one with other players helping the team."