Boys basketball: Noll turns rivalry game with Wheeler into rout
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent December 22, 2012 11:32PM
Bishop Noll junior Tyreon Gates puts up a shot admidst a gaggle of Wheeler defenders during their GSS Conference game at Wheeler High School Saturday, December 22, 2012, in Valparaiso, Ind. | Scott M. Bort~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 24, 2013 6:50AM
VALPARAISO — It appeared to be a marquee game before the opening tip.
By the time the first period ended, Bishop Noll had turned this clash of rivals into a colossal dud.
Wheeler (4-2, 2-2) scored the first four points in Saturday night’s Greater South Shore Conference game before the Warriors went on a 25-0 run, while nearly running the Bearcats out of their own gym in a 68-41 romp.
“They looked very solid, but our game plan is always to get after the guards and see if they can handle it,’’ Noll coach Drew Trost said. “We’re going to keep doing that until people show they can handle the pressure.
“Our pressure gives people a lot of problems. We have a lot of defenders who are quick and can really get after people.’’
Wheeler’s guards couldn’t handle the heat.
The quickness and over-active hands of the Warriors (6-0, 4-0) on defense ignited their offense. Noll came up with steal after steal while building a dominating and commanding 36-6 second-quarter lead.
“We came out pretty strong,’’ Noll junior guard Tyreon Gates said. “We wanted to put them down from the beginning. We knew they were building momentum after those first two baskets and we wanted to stop it right then and come back and score.’’
Gates scored a game-high 18 points, including 10 in the second half when Noll built a commanding 34-point lead (60-26) early in the fourth period.
Larry Crisler scored 15 points and Jalen Hord added 10.
“To come into your rival’s gym and play like that, it’s definitely a good Christmas present,’’ Trost said. “Andrean is our No. 1 rival, but Wheeler is second.’’
While the Bearcats couldn’t handle Noll’s defensive pressure, they had trouble guarding the Warriors as well.
“I think Crisler and Gates are tough guys for high schoolers to defend,’’ Trost said. “They’re both 6-3 guys who can both handle the ball, they’re strong and can finish good around the basket.’’
Gates believes the Warriors have players who are tough for other teams to deal with.
“We have a lot of combo guards,’’ he said. “Larry and I can play guard or post — it really doesn’t matter.’’
When asked if he was surprised by the ease of Noll’s win, Gates smiled.
“I knew they were our rival, so I just came out with a lot of intensity and tried to pick our team up. Right now, we’re right where we want to be, but we want to continue to get better and progress.’’
Jason Graf led Wheeler with 10 points.