SUWANEE -- After a week-long layoff, Wesleyan boys head coach Skip Matherly wasn't sure what to expect out of his team in the opening round of the Jared Cook Holiday Classic on Monday afternoon at North Gwinnett.
During the first quarter, however, it didn't take long for Matherly to realize that his squad was going to be just fine.
On the strength of its strong outside shooting, Wesleyan jumped to a quick 25-10 lead in the first quarter and cruised the rest of the way, topping the Falcons 65-35. With the win, Wesleyan advanced to face North Gwinnett today at 8:10 p.m. in the tournament semifinals.
"We executed about as well as we have all year," Matherly said. "We did our stuff at both ends very, very well. We communicated, didn't try to force things and everything just flowed."
Wesleyan had its 3-point shooting flowing like a flooded river as the Wolves (8-3) hit 11 shots from beyond the arc, eight of those coming in the decisive first half.
That sharp outside shooting limited Flowery Branch in its fast break opportunities and allowed Wesleyan to control the tempo of the game.
"It really helped that we knocked down those 3's early," Matherly said. "(Flowery Branch) is more comfortable when they make it a track meet and teams that like to run like to force the issue and get into a rhythm. We were patient on offense and never allowed them to do that."
Wesleyan's patience paid off in the first quarter as the Wolves vaulted to a 25-10 lead by the period's end. Wes Caver, who finished with 13 points and four assists, hit for nine of those in the opening frame, including one of his team's five 3-pointers in the period.
Andrew Frerking led the charge in the second quarter with seven of his team-high 16 points, leading the team from 3-point land with five bombs on the night.
While Frerking kept the offense rolling, Wesleyan's defense did its part by holding the Falcons to just 19 points in the first half.
The only threat for Flowery Branch on offense was Ishmael Hollis, who finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, both of which were game highs. Zach Barrett followed with nine points but only two other players combined to score four points for the Falcons.
Wesleyan's offensive attack was more balanced with Griffin Schamp, Carter Brantley, Ty Teague and Shane Smith chipping in with eight points each.
The biggest lead of the night for the Wolves came with 3:49 left to play in the third quarter when Smith scored off an assist from Brantley, putting his team up by 36 at 51-25.