MONTICELLO — Calumet’s Jaylen Sullivan hit a 3-pointer from the left corner in the first quarter and pumped his fist at his side and gave out a yell as more of a show of confidence than bravado.
The Warriors are on a mission and took the first step Tuesday in a resounding 66-42 win over Wheeler in the opening game of the Class 3A Twin Lakes Sectional.
“We’re playing as a team,” said Sullivan who had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds and dished out four assists.
Calumet (12-10) won its first sectional game since 2013 and would love nothing better than to win a couple more games. It faces Hanover Central at 6 p.m. Friday in the first semifinal.
“The guys just came to play,” Calumet coach Dominique Nelson said. “We took a heartbreaker here last season with the foul and the 3-point attempt, so we’re on a tour to do something we haven’t done in a long, long time. We have a ‘Why not us?’ mentality.”
Calumet led 19-11 at the first stop, but Wheeler (7-15) kept hanging around, trailing just 21-17 with 3 minutes and 56 seconds left in the second quarter. Calumet closed the half on an 8-4 run to take a 29-21 lead at the break.
The Warriors took charge in the third quarter, using a 11-0 run early in the period to bump the advantage to 44-24 with less than three minutes left.
“I told my guys in the locker room — (the) third quarter is where we need to explode,” Nelson said. “I told them I didn’t like their energy in the first half, and this was a mental thing, just not allowing them to get complacent and relax, keeping them hungry.”
Calumet extended the advantage to 48-28 with eight minutes. They kept up the pressure and the “controlled chaos” in the fourth.
“It was defense, transition, talk and just a good game,” Sullivan said.
Da’vion Davis drilled six three-pointers on the way to a game-high 24 points to lead the Warriors, who haven’t won a sectional title since 2000. He was happy to get that elusive sectional game win.
“It’s been a while,” Davis said. “We finally got one. We’ve just got to keep stepping up next, like coach said.”
Armani Christopher added 11 points for Calumet, who used 12 players with nine finding the scoring column.
“We’re not done yet,” Nelson said. “We didn’t even really celebrate in the locker room. We want to keep surviving and advance. Hanover is a challenge and is going to be a good team, but we’ve just got to go the next two days and prepare. It’s postseason.”
Cameron Morton led the Bearcats with 10 points, while Dane Simatovich added nine points and five rebounds.
“We’ve got great kids, and we’ve got great families,” Wheeler coach Tom Johnson said. “I’d walk through fire for any of them. We got beat (Tuesday) night, and I just love our kids.”