UNION MILLS — Wheeler played right into South Central’s planning and preparation on the opening night of the season Tuesday.
Defense, paired with an outstanding performance by 6-foot-7 junior Brendan Carr were two of the Satellites’ sharpest weapons as it cruised to a 51-37 victory.
“We have been locked in the last two weeks of practice,” said South Central coach Joe Wagner. “We have more experienced guys to start the season and our practices have been intense. I think it shows in the way our defense performed and we won the game on the defensive end.”
The Satellites came out focused in the first half, holding Wheeler to single-digit scoring in both periods. Carr was the lead scorer of the half, scoring on each of his attempts to kick start the offense with 11 points. Senior Zack Christy contributed with nine points of his own.
“Carr is a big target for us under the basket,” said Wagner. “We don’t need to get the ball to him every time necessarily, but we do have to understand that the way he plays is our bread and butter.”
By the end of the first half, SC had a comfortable 13-point lead, which came at the heels of eight unanswered points at the end of the second period. To punctuate the half, Christy came up with a steal and fed senior Trent Smoker for a contested layup. That was followed by a three-point play from Brady Glisic to make it 29-16.
Wheeler showed signs of life from the perimeter in the second half, draining six 3s. The flurry was led by Dylan Radinsky, who drained three field goals from behind the arc. Jalen Lewis and Mason Leckrone also began cutting down South Central’s lead, but defense was quick to respond off the boards.
“Our advantage was off the boards,” said Wagner. “We grabbed 25 boards to their 14, and that shows where our guys are dialed in at.”
Carr managed 14, along with 21 points, a credit he gives to the preparation of his team along with the energy they brought to the game.
“The mismatch helped tonight,” Carr said of his size advantage. “Our guys came in really excited and that helped us on both sides.”
Later in the fourth period, fatigue began to set in for Wheeler, as South Central’s smothering defense made it difficult for the Bearcats to clear half court.
The Satellites racked up five steals and forced Wheeler to attempt several desperation shots in attempt to dig out of a 20-point deficit.
Christy’s performance was a perfect complement to the style of play Wagner and his team needed to get the win, putting up nine points, two rebounds and a steal.
“One of our goals is to hold our opponents to under 42 points per game, and we did that by holding them to 37 points,” said Christy. “It felt great to get this season started with a win, and it’s the first time we’ve been 1-0 after the start of our season since I’ve been here.”
SC 51, Wheeler 37
Brendan Carr posted 21 points and 14 rebounds.