UNION TOWNSHIP | In Wheeler’s boys basketball season opener against Hebron, the Bearcats were in midseason form.
The Bearcats shot 23-of-50 from the field and forced 23 Hawk turnovers in Wheeler’s 58-47 win on Tuesday.
Wheeler used an 18-0 run over a 6-minute stretch of the first and second quarters to take a 26-7 lead.
“We were really happy with the way our kids came out and especially in the first half and played,” said Wheeler coach Tom Johnson. “We were pretty good defensively and in transition.”
Kevin Barnes and Drew Heinold combined for 13 points during the run. Heinold made a three-pointer to close Wheeler’s scoring in the first quarter and had another to start the second quarter.
Barnes finished with a game-high 15 points. Heinold totaled eight points and seven assists.
The Bearcats (1-0) had five players score at least eight points. Jeremy Truchan added 12, all coming in the second half. Jason Graf chipped in with 11, and Austin Greiner had eight points and nine rebounds.
“That’s the way we would like it to be, we would like to have four or five guys right around double figures,” Johnson said.
Wheeler made 13-of-25 attempts from the floor in the first half and forced Hebron into 17 turnovers in taking a 32-13 lead at the break.
“They got back on their heels early in the game and we certainly benefitted from it,” Johnson said. “We were able to convert points off of some of those turnovers.”
The Hawks (1-2), who trailed by as many as 28 in the second half, went on a 16-1 run in the fourth quarter to close within 11 at 53-42 with 2:10 to play, but Hebron could not cut the deficit to single digits.
“I went with a couple different lineups and one worked,” Hebron coach John Steinhilber said of his team’s late surge.
Ryan Patz had a double-double for the Hawks with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Spencer Sheets added 10 points and R.J. Griffin chipped in with nine.