The Wheaton Bulldogs shook off the rust and used a 20-5 run in the second period to defeat McAuley 77-51 in the quarterfinals of the Class 2, District 12 tournament.
"I don't know if it was the 4:30 p.m. start or if we were tired, but we started really slow," said Wheaton coach Rusty Roe. "Then in the second quarter we woke up and stopped turning the ball over and went on a run."
Wheaton jumped out to a 21-13 lead after one quarter of play and watched as the Warriors climbed to within five at 23-18 with four minutes left in the first half.
The Bulldogs, led by Sean Goosetree, outscored the Warriors 20-5 the remainder of the quarter to lead 43-23 at intermission. Goosetree scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in that four-minute span.
"Sean is a very smart and hardworking player," said Roe. "He is the catalyst for our team. Once he got on a roll so did the team."
The Bulldogs continually forced the action in the second half, limiting McAuley to one shot per possession while cleaning the offensive boards to extend their possessions.
"I thought our rebounding in the second half was the key to our success," said Roe. "We have done a great job all year of getting offensive boards, and tonight, it allowed us to keep a nice cushion on the scoreboard."
Wheaton led 62-40 after three quarters of play and outperformed the Warriors 15 to 11 in the fourth period. The Bulldogs were 17 of 19 from the free-throw line.
Scoring for McAuley were: Shaw Robinson, 17; Cole Lowry, 14; Zach Crossland, 7; Ben Street, Austin Shipman and Lathan Vlasin, 3 each; and Adam Robertson, 2.
Scoring for Wheaton: Goosetree, 23; Jory Bartkoski, 20; Jesse Mitchell. 12; Tyler Musick, 10; Justin Yeary and Bubba Galvan, 4 each; and Kyle Robbins, 3.
Wheaton plays Greenfield in the semi-finals on Wednesday. The Wildcats were 56-45 winners over Jasper. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m.
In the other Class 2, District 12 semi-final, Purdy plays Liberal. The Eagles were 53-26 victors over College Heights. Liberal hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to earn a 55-54 victory over Miller.