LAND O’LAKES — Down 23-13 at halftime Tuesday night against Sunlake and barely in the game after a dismal offensive start, Wesley Chapel coach Doug Greseth told his starters they needed to step up in every facet of the game.
Or be pulled from the court and sit on the bench.
His starters’ response? A 20-point third quarter and renewed sense of urgency on defense, holding the Seahawks to only 20 points the entire second half. The Wildcats did just enough offensively to slide by Sunlake 46-43.
“I basically told my starters to either start playing some defense or sit on the bench like you did in the second quarter,” Greseth said. “We started outhustling them in the third quarter, as (Sunlake) outhustled us in the first half.
“This win was really important in a standpoint of confidence. We did all the little things very well tonight.”
After opening up the first quarter shooting 2-of-13 from the field, Wesley Chapel (5-5) was seemingly out of synch on both ends and trailed 18-6 after one period. Sunlake (4-6), though, went on a poor shooting spell of its own, also going 2-of-13 shooting in the second quarter.
Midway through the third quarter Wesley Chapel guard Vincent Bayne’s (nine points, five rebounds) layup sparked a 7-0 run to end the quarter and knot the game at 33.
Turnovers in the second half withered Sunlake’s once-seemingly big lead, as the Seahawks turned over the ball an uncharacteristic 14 times compared with six in the first.
Wildcats starters Erik Thomas (13 points, eight rebounds) and Christian Parra (11 points) were instrumental in the final quarter, helping Wesley Chapel to its third consecutive win after starting the season 2-5.
Sunlake guard Pedro Pabon scored a game-high 19 and came down with eight rebounds.