MARIETTA — Size and athleticism are everything in basketball.
In Saturday’s Class AAAAAA second-round game between Meadowcreek and Wheeler, that’s exactly what the Wildcats had as they dominated early and often en route to a 96-52 win.
“We ran into a really good team,” Meadowcreek head coach Billy Davis said. “They’re very experienced and they showed it on the court.”
The Mustangs (11-18) struggled early with their shots, opting to shoot from the outside, rather than go inside.
When those shots didn’t go down, the Wildcats took advantage, getting out in transition.
Wheeler scored 15 points before Meadowcreek got a 3-pointer from Austin Robinson with 2:17 to go in the first quarter. The Wildcats held a 17-3 lead after the first quarter, but weren’t finished.
“You can’t get down like that early in a game against a good team like Wheeler,” Davis said. “We committed 17 turnovers in the first half and you’re not going to win ballgames playing like that.”
Continuing to get out in transition, the Wildcats continued to push the pace offensively and defensively, forcing the Mustangs into multiple mistakes.
Meadowcreek did take the ball inside more, garnering three field goals inside the 3-point line in the quarter.
Wheeler, on the other hand, knocked down shot-after-shot and the Mustangs didn’t have an answer.
Still, by the time halftime rolled around, Wheeler held a 47-17 lead.
Things calmed down a little in the second half, but Wheeler was still too much for Meadowcreek, outscoring the Mustangs 29-19 in the third quarter and 20-16 in the fourth.
“We’re a scrappy team and not going to give up no matter what the scoreboard says,” Davis said.
Wheeler was led by Elijah Stanley with 20 points and seven rebounds, while Jerron Love had 19 points and six rebounds.
Meadowcreek was led by Austin Robinson with 18 points, while Don Smith had 11.
“The good thing is, we have most of our guys coming back next year,” Davis said. “We were an inexperienced team this year and learned the hard way a lot of times. We’ll get in the weight room and come back better next year.”