After a back-and-forth opening quarter, Hollister pulled away from Wheaton and won the game 72-44. Led by senior Kyle David and junior Andy Wenger, the Tigers are off to 4-0 start to the season with momentum heading into a home game Tuesday against Strafford.
In the championship game, Hollister’s goal was to use their height and strength advantage inside to get easy buckets in the paint against a smaller Wheaton team. Junior Blake Woods and Wenger were the dominating presences inside for the Tigers, taking advantage of the Wheaton defense. However, it took the team more time than expected to get into an offensive rhythm, thus allowing Wheaton to stay in the game. A 7-4 run by the Bulldogs to end the first quarter made the score 12-11 in favor of the Tigers.
“Our first quarter game plan was to get the ball inside and we were not doing that,” said Hollister head coach Chris Kennedy. “We honestly got the shots we wanted but we just were not making them.”
David had just two points in the first quarter, but exploded on the stat sheet in the second period. Hollister’s senior guard put up 18 points in the quarter, 15 of them coming from behind the three-point line.
“He (David) got on a run and really opened up the game,” said Kennedy. “Our players played the two man game, an inside-outside game, very well.”
With David’s hot hand from behind the arc and their size advantage inside, Wheaton had no answer defensively on how to stop the Tigers’ offense. Hollister scored 26 points in the quarter, and took a 15-point lead into halftime.
“I wanted to blow them out of the water that second quarter,” said David. “We just need to remember to play from our post and play outside too.”
The third quarter was only a continuation for both teams from what had happened in the first half. Wheaton was outscored in the third quarter 22-9. The Bulldogs had too many turnovers and were unable to get back in transition defense. Though Wheaton seniors Jory Bartkoski and Justin Walker tried to keep the team in the second half, Hollister’s overall team play proved to be overpowering and too much to come back from.
Wenger and Woods finished the game for Hollister as they were able to pound their opponents in the paint. Wenger finished the game with 16 points and Woods with 11. David led the team in scoring with 25 total points in the championship game.
Hollister will take their championship trophy with them into their home opener Tuesday against the Strafford Indians, while Wheaton will attempt to bounce back Pierce City at home on Tuesday.
Hollister scoring: Kyle David 25, Andy Wenger 16, Blake Wood 11, Trey McDowell 7, Zach Calovich 6, Ethan Davidson 6, Layne Cooner 2
Wheaton scoring: Jory Bartkoski 11, Chase Cantwell 9, Justin Walker 7, Matt Hickman 7, Justin Yeary 5, Darrell Burns 4