LAKE STATION | Simply put, the little school in the outskirts of Valpo has won almost everything recently and is on fire right now.
"It's Bearcat pride," Wheeler coach Alisha Polite said. "All of the kids support one another and they all breathe what they do."
On the heels of the football team's shocking 12-7 win over Class 2A No. 2 Andrean on Friday night, the volleyball team used the fuel from that win to capture its fourth consecutive sectional championship in convincing fashion over conference-foe Whiting 25-18, 27-25, 25-16 in the Class 2A Lake Station Sectional final.
"We saw how good the boys felt and we wanted to feel like that today," Wheeler junior Shannon Doyle said.
Wheeler (26-10) controlled the first game for the most part, but at 18-10, the Oilers won six of the next eight points to creep back. The Bearcats persevered and won four of the last five.
The second game was a back-and-forth affair at 17-16 until Wheeler started to pull away thanks to five Doyle kills. The Oilers (27-6) wouldn't quit and eventually tied it at 24 apiece, but the Bearcats won the three of the next four to take the momentum back.
"Shannon stepped up for us big today," Polite said. "She took full responsibility for her role and put balls away when she had to."
The third game was really all Doyle and the Bearcats, as the junior had seven kills in the set and fittingly had the last one to put Whiting away for good.
Whiting coach Kelly Greer believes her team came out a little flat, but they'll learn and will be there next year.
"We practiced like Wheeler was going to be in the championship game," she said. "It was just the wrong day to come out flat. It's a little disappointing, but we have a lot of talent and should be OK."