Wheeler’s drive leads Sabers to win
BY HEIDI ZENEFSKI
Watching the Susquehanna Sabers Varsity Basketball Team is proof that looks can be deceiving.
Take Josh Wheeler. He is by no means the biggest guy on the team and he sure doesn’t look like he is the strongest. He looks younger than he is; he’s the squad’s sole senior and clearly is a leader on the team.
Watch him play basketball and he will impress you with a tenacity and drive that makes you think he is trying to prove something and maybe he is.
Tuesday, January 21, the Blue Ridge Raiders traveled to Susquehanna to take on Wheeler and the rest of the Sabers. The gym was crowded as these two rivals took to the floor.
Wheeler had a fantastic game, he outscored everyone on the court by at least seven points. He has a 3-point shot only rivaled by teammate, Luke Falletta.
The Raiders were effective at stopping Wheeler from driving to the basket, but that didn’t matter because he just shot from behind the 3-point line and he did it over and over. He also rebounded. He got under the basket and out jumped other players. And foul shots? He was perfect for the night.
Wheeler posted a game-high 22 points in the 62-44 win over Blue Ridge.
The first quarter was a tight match with Blue Ridge keeping up with the Sabers. Austin White and Brad Palmatier, and Michael Allen all made 3-pointers to keep Blue Ridge from falling behind early, while Stephen Jesse played hard defensively with three rebounds and a steal.
For the Sabers, Falletta dropped in two 3-pointers, Wheeler had a 3-pointer and a field goal, Mark Zappe added four points and Christian Miller added a basket to give the Sabers a 17-14 edge over the Raiders at the end of the first quarter.
Blue Ridge got left behind in the second quarter. They could not keep up with the shooting abilities of Wheeler and Falletta who each score two more 3-pointers and Zappe matched his first quarter stats with four more points.
Blue Ridge’s Austin Darrow scored 4 as did White, but no other Raiders were able to put points on the board for Blue Ridge in the first half of the game which ended with a score of Susquehanna 35 – Blue Ridge 22.
The third quarter was even with each team adding eight points to the board; Wheeler scored five of the eight for Susquehanna, including another 3-pointer. Darrow scored four more for the Raiders with teammates, Allen and Palmatier each adding a bucket. But with Blue Ridge unable to gain any ground, the writing was on the wall.
But the Raiders did not up easily. They were there to play basketball and they did not roll over and concede to the Sabers in the final quarter of the game.
Palmatier went on a scoring streak with nine points and three rebounds; Darrow matched the rebounds and added five more points.
Susquehanna’s Miller and Wheeler were both four for four from the foul line, Austin Felter made a 3-point bucket plus a field goal and Falletta was two for two from the foul line.
No foul shots were missed by the Sabers in the fourth quarter and they outscored the Raiders 19-14, bringing the final score of 62-44.
Falletta followed Wheeler with 15 points on the night.
The high scorer for Blue Ridge was Palmatier with 15 points, followed by Darrow with 13.
JV score: Blue Ridge 42, Susquehanna 37
In other boys basketball game action last week Montrose, Elk Lake and Blue Ridge all picked up wins.
Lack. Trail, 49
At Lackawanna Trail, Cameron Dean scored 25 points to lead Montrose, which trailed by five going into the fourth quarter, in a Division IV matchup.
Forest City, 41
At Forest City, Bryce Petrunich and A.J. Wormuth each scored 10 points to lead Lakeland to a nonleague win.
Noah Fedak led Forest City with 15 points.
Blue Ridge, 71
Western Wayne, 59
At Blue Ridge, Steve Jesse scored 18 points, Mike Allen added 15, Austin White had 14 and Brad Palmatier contributed 12 for the winners in a nonleague game.
Elk Lake, 80
At Elk Lake, Nick Dudock scored 24 points and Tanner Reyan had 23 to lead the No. 4-ranked Warriors to a nonleague win.
Matt Woolcock added 13 points for the Warriors.